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KICAN NOTES- 

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FROM 

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Cornell University Library 
PR 4550.E73 
v.1 

[Works.lllustrated library edition] 



3 1924 016 653 929 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924016653929 



, AMERICAN NOTES 

AND 

PICTURES FROM ITALY. 




EMIGRANTS. 



AMERICAN NOTES 



GENERAL CIRCULATION. 



and 



PICTURES FROM ITALY 



BY 

CHARLES DICKENS. 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY MARCUS STONE. 



LONDON: CHAPMAN AND HALL, Ld. 



(. TvKI -U- 
U KM?' If? CI TV 

I IB JURY 



A^?s'/33 



/ 

LONDON : 

PRINTED BV WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, 

DUKE STREET, STAMFORD STREET, S.E., AND GREAT WINDMILL STREET, W. 



PEEFACE. 

ll/TY readers have opportunities of judging for themselves 
whether the influences and tendencies which I distrusted 
in America had any existence but in my imagination. They 
can examine for themselves whether there has been anything 
in the public career of that country since, at home or abroad, 
which suggests that those influences and tendencies really did 
exist. As they find the fact, they will judge me. If they 
discern any evidences of wrong-going, in any direction that I 
have indicated, they will acknowledge that I had reason in 
what I wrote. If they discern no such thing, they will con- 
sider me altogether mistaken- — but not wilfully. 

Prejudiced I am not, and never have been, otherwise than 
in favour -of the United States. I have many friends in 
America, I feel a grateful interest in the country, I hope and 
believe it will successfully work out a problem of the highest 
importance to the whole human race. To represent me as 
viewing America with ill-nature, coldness, or animosity, is 
merely to do a very foolish thing, which is always a very 
easy one. 



CONTENTS. 



AMERICAN NOTES. 

* 

CHAP. PAGE 

I. Going Away 1 

II. The Passage Out 11 

III. Boston 2? 

IV. An American Railroad. Lowell and its Factory Syst3:.i . . 71 
V. "Worcester. The Connecticut River. IIal:t;olu>. New Haven 

to New York 81 

VI. New York 01 

VII. Philadelphia, and its Solitary Prison 112 

VIII. Washington. The Legislature. And the President's House . ISO 

IX. A Night Steamer on the Potomac River. Virginia I!oad and 
a Black Driver. Richmond. Baltimore. The Harrisburg 
Mail, and a Glimpse op the City. A Canal Boat . . 140 

X. Some further Account op the Canal Boat, its Domestic 
Economy, and its Passengers. Journey to Pittsburg across 
the Alleghany Mountains. Pittsburg 169 

XL From Pittsburg to Cincinnati in a Western Steamboat. Cin- 
cinnati 182 

XII. From Cincinnati to Louisville in another Western Steam- 
boat ; and prom Louisville to St. Louis in another. St. 
• Louis l" : i 

XIII. A Jaunt to the Looking-glass Prairie and Back . . 206 
XIV.. Return to Cincinnati. A Stage-coach Ride from thai City to 
Columbus, and thence to Sandusky, fo, vy Lake Erie, to 
the Falls of Niagara 216 



Vlll CONTENTS. 

CHAP. FACS 

XV. In Canada : Toronto ; Kingston ; Montreal ; Quebec ; St. 
John's. In the United States aoain : Lebanon? the 
Shaker Village ; and West Toixt 235 

XVI. The Passage Home 256 

XVII. Slavery ... 266 

XVIII. Concluding Remarks 285 



PICTURES FROM ITALY. 



The Header's Passport 301 

Going through France .... 304 

Lyons, the Rhone, and the Goblin of Avignon 313 

Avignon to Genoa 323 

Genoa and its Neighbourhood 329 

To Parma, Modena, and Bologna \ 364 

Through Bologna and Fekrara ... 375 

An Italian Drea;.i 382 

By Verona, Mantua, and Milan, auxss the Pass of the SisirLON into 

Switzerland 392 

To Rome by Pisa and Siena 410 

Pome 426 

A Rapid Diorama — 

To Naples ; . . . . 478 

Naples 481 

Pompeii — Herculaneum 486 

Pjestum 488 

Vesuvius ' 489 

Return to Naples 494 

Monte Cassino ...... 499 

Florence ,• '" 502 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



AMERICAN NOTES. 



Emigrants. Frontispiece. 

PAGE 

The Solitary Prisoner . 121 

Black and White 156 

The Little Wife 203 



PICTURES FROM ITALY. 



Civil and Military 305 

Italian Peasants • 346 

The Chiffonier 108 

In the Catacombs 451 



AMERICAN NOTES. 



-^ 



AMEEICAN NOTES, 



<rt 



CHAPTER I. 



GOING AWAY. 



f SHALL never forget the one-fourth serious and three-fourths 
comical astonishment with which, on the morning of the 
third of January, eighteen-hundred-and-forty-two, I opened 
the door of, and put my head into, a " state-room" on board the 
Britannia steam-packet, twelve hundred tons burden per register, 
bound for Halifax and Boston, and carrying her Majesty's mails. 
That this state-room had been specially engaged for " Charles 
Dickens, Esquire, and Lady," was rendered sufficiently clear even 
to my scared intellect by a very small manuscript, announcing 
the fact, which was pinned on a very flat quilt, covering a very 
thin mattress, spread like a surgical plaster on a most inacces- 
sible shelf. But that this was the state-room concerning which 
Charles Dickens, Esquire, and Lady, had held daily and nightly 
conferences for at least four months preceding : that this could 
by any possibility be that small snug chamber of the imagina- 
tion, which Charles Dickens, Esquire, with the spirit of prophecy 
strong upon him, had always foretold would contain at least 
one little sofa, and which his lady, with a modest yet most 
magnificent sense of its limited dimensions, had from the first 
opined would not hold more than two enormous portmanteaus 
in some odd corner out of sight (portmanteaus which could now 
no more be got in at the door, not to say stowed away, than a 
«. " B 



2 AMERICAN NOTES 

giraffe could be persuaded or forced into a flower-pot) : that this 
utterly impracticable, thoroughly hopeless, and profoundly pre- 
posterous box had the remotest reference to, or connection with, 
those chaste and pretty, not to say gorgeous little bowers, 
sketched by a masterly hand, in the highly varnished litho- 
graphic plan hanging up in the agent's counting-house in the 
city of London : that this room of state, in short, could be any- 
thing but a pleasant fiction and cheerful jest of the captain's, 
invented and put in practice for the better relish and enjoyment 
of the real state-room presently to be disclosed : — these were 
truths which I really could not, for the moment, bring my mind 
at all to bear upon or comprehend. And I sat down upon a 
kind of horsehair slab, or perch, of which there were two 
within ; and looked, without any expression of countenance 
whatever, at some friends who had come on board with us, and 
who were crushing their faces into all manner of shapes by 
endeavouring to squeeze them through the small doorway. 

"We had experienced a pretty smart shock before coming 
below, which, but that we were the most sanguine people living, 
might have prepared us for the worst. The imaginative artist 
to whom I have already made allusion has depicted, in the 
same great work, a chamber of almost interminable perspective, 
furnished, as Mr. Robins would say, in a style of more than 
Eastern splendour, and filled (but not inconveniently so) with 
groups of ladies and gentlemen, in the very highest state of 
enjoyment and vivacity. Before descending into the bowels of 
the ship, we had passed from the deck into a long narrow 
apartment, not unlike a gigantic hearse with windows in the 
sides ; having at the upper end a melancholy stove, at which 
three 'or four chilly stewards were warming their hands ; while 
on either side, extending down its whole dreary length, was a 
long, long table, over each of which a rack, fixed to the low 
roof, and stuck full of drinking-glasses and cruet-stands, hinted 
dismally at rolling seas and heavy weather. I had not at that 
time seen the ideal presentment of this chamber which has 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 3 

since gratified me so much, but I observed that one of our 
friends, who had made the arrangements for our voyage, turned 
pale on entering, retreated on the friend behind him, smote his 
forehead involuntarily, and said below his breath, " Impossible ! 
it cannot be ! " or words to that effect. He recovered himself 
however, by a great effort, and, after a preparatory cough o\ 
two, cried, with a ghastly smile which is still before me, looking 
at the same time round the walls, " Ha ! the breakfast-room, 
steward, eh ? " We all foresaw what the answer must be : we 
knew the agony he suffered. He had often spoken of the saloon ; 
had taken in and lived upon the pictorial idea ; had usually 
given us to understand, at home, that to form a just conception 
of it, it would be necessary to multiply the size and furniture of 
an ordinary drawing-room by seven, and then fall short of the 
reality. When the man in reply avowed the truth : the blunt, 
remorseless, naked truth : " This is the saloon, sir" — he actually 
reeled beneath the blow. 

In persons who were so soon to part, and interpose between 
their else daily communication the formidable barrier of many 
thousand miles of stormy space, and who were for that reason 
anxious to cast no other cloud, not even the passing shadow of 
a moment's disappointment or discomfiture, upon the short 
interval of happy companionship that yet remained to them — • 
in persons so situated, the natural transition from these first 
surprises was obviously into peals of hearty laughter ; and I can 
report that I, for one, being still seated upon the slab or perch 
before mentioned, roared outright until the vessel rang again. 
Thus, in less than two minutes after coming upon it for the 
first time, we all by common consent agreed that this state- 
room was the pleasantest and most facetious and capital con- 
trivance possible, and that to have had it one inch larger would 
have been quite a disagreeable and deplorable state of things. 
And with this ; and with showing how — by very nearly closing 
the door, and twining in 'and out like serpents, and by counting 
.the little washing slab as standing-room — we could manage to 

e2 



4 AMERICAN NOTES 

insinuate four people into it, all at one time ; and entreating 
each other to observe how very airy it was (in dock), and how 
there was a beautiful port-hole which could be kept open all 
day (weather permitting), and how there was quite a large bull's- 
eye just over the looking-glass, which would render shaving a 
perfectly easy and delightful process (when the ship didn't roll 
too much) ; we arrived, at last, at the unanimous conclusion 
that it was rather spacious than otherwise : though I do verily 
believe that, deducting the two berths, one above the other, than 
which nothing smaller for sleeping in was ever made except 
coffins, it was no bigger than one of those hackney cabriolets 
which have the door behind, and shoot their fares out like sacks 
of coals upon the pavement. 

Having settled this point to the perfect satisfaction of all 
parties, concerned or unconcerned, we sat down round the fire in 
the ladies' cabin — just to try the effect. It was rather dark, cer- 
tainly ; but somebody said, " Of course it would be light at sea," 
a proposition to which we all assented ; echoing " Of course, of 
course ; " though it would be exceedingly difficult to say why we 
thought so. I remember, too, when we had discovered and 
exhausted another topic of consolation in the circumstance of 
this ladies' cabin adjoining our state-room, and the consequently 
immense feasibility of sitting there at all times and seasons, and 
had fallen into a momentary silence, leaning our faces on our 
hands and looking at the fire, one of our patty said, with the 
solemn air of a man who had made a discovery, " What a relish 
mulled claret will have down here ! " which appeared to strike 
us all most forcibly ; as though there were something spicy and 
high-flavoured in cabins, which essentially improved that compo- 
sition, and rendered it quite incapable of perfection anywhere else. 

There was a stewardess, too, actively engaged in producing 
clean sheets and table-cloths from the very entrails of the sofas, 
and from unexpected lockers, of such artful mechanism that it 
made one's head ache to see them opened one after another, 
and rendered it quite a distracting circumstance to follow her 



For general circulation. 5 

proceedings, and to find that every nook and corner and indi- 
vidual piece of furniture was something else besides what it 
pretended to be, and was a mere trap and deception and place of 
secret stowage, whose ostensible purpose was its least useful one. 

God bless that stewardess for her piously fraudulent account 
of January voyages ! God bless her for her clear recollection of 
the companion passage of last year, when nobody was ill, and 
everybody danced from morning till night, and it was " a run " 
of twelve days, and a piece of the purest frolic, and delight, and 
jollity ! All happiness be with her for her bright face and her 
pleasant Scotch tongue, which had sounds of old Home in it 
for my fellow-traveller ; and for her predictions of fair winds and 
fine weather (all wrong, or I shouldn't be half so fond of her) ; 
and for the ten thousand small fragments of genuine Avomanly 
tact by which, without piecing them elaborately together, and 
patching them up into shape and form and case and pointed 
application, she nevertheless did plainly show that all young 
mothers on one side of the Atlantic were near and close at hand 
to their little children left upon the other ; and that what seemed 
to the uninitiated a serious journey, was, to those who were in 
the secret, a mere frolic, to be sung about and whistled at ! 
Light be her heart, and gay her merry eyes, for years ! 

The state-room had grown pretty fast ; but by this time it had 
expanded into something quite bulky, and almost boasted a bay- 
window to view the sea from. So we went upon deck again 
in high spirits ; and there everything was in such a state of 
bustle and active preparation, that the blood quickened its pace, 
and whirled through one's veins on that clear frosty morning 
with involuntary mirthfulness. For every gallant ship was 
riding slowly up and down, and every little boat was plashing 
noisily in the water ; and knots of people stood upon the wharf, 
gazing with a kind of " dread delight " on the far-famed fast 
American steamer ; and one party of men were " taking in the 
milk," or, in other words, getting the cow on board ; and another 
were filling the ice-houses to the very throat with fresh provi- 



6 AMERICAN NOTES 

sions ; with butcher's meat and garden stuff, pale sucking-pigs, 
calves' heads in scores, beef, veal, and pork, and poultry out of 
all proportion ; and others were coiling ropes, and busy with 
oakum yarns ; and others were lowering heavy packages into the 
hold ; and the purser's head was barely visible as it loomed in a 
state of exquisite perplexity from the midst of a vast pile ot 
passengers' luggage ; and there seemed to be nothing going on 
anywhere, or uppermost in the mind of anybody,' but prepara- 
tions for this mighty voyage.- This, with "the" bfighf cold sun, 
the bracing air, the crisply-curling water, the thin "white crust 
of morning ice upon the" decks which crackled with a "sharp 'and 
cheerful sound beneath the lightest tread; was irresistible. "And 
when, again upon the shore, we turned and saw from the"vess"eTs 
mast her name signalled in flags of joyous colours, and fluttering 
by their side the beautiful American banner with its stars and 
stripes, — the long three thousand miles and more, and, longer 
still, the six whole months of absence, so dwindled and faded 
that the ship had gone out and come home again, and it was 
broad spring already in the Coburg Dock at Liverpool. 

I have not inquired among my medical acquaintance whethef 
Turtle, and cold Punch, with Hock, Champagne, and Claret, and 
all the slight et csetera usually included in an unlimited Order 
for a good dinner — especially when it is left to the liberal con- 
struction of my faultless friend, Mr. Eadley of the Adelphi 
Hotel — are peculiarly calculated to suffer a sea-change ; or 
whether a plain mutton chop, and a glass or two of "sherry, 
would be less likely of conversion into foreign and disconcerting 
material. My own opinion is, that whether one is discreet" or 
indiscreet in these particulars, on the eve of a sea voyage, is a 
matter of little consequence"; and that, to use a common phrase, 
"it comes to very much the. same thing in the end." Bethil 
as it may, I know that the dinner of that day was undeniably 
perfect ; that it comprehended all these items, and; a great 
many more ; and that we all did ample justice to it: And I 
know,- too, that, bating a certain tacit avoidance of any allusion 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 7 

to to-morrow; such as may be supposed to prevail between 
delicate-minded turnkeys and a sensitive prisoner who is to be 
hanged next morning ; we got on very well, and, all things 
considered, were merry enough. 

When the morning — the morning — came, and we met at 
breakfast, it was curious to see how eager we all were to pre- 
vent a moment's pause in the conversation, and how astound- 
ingly gay everybody was : the forced spirits of each member of 
the little party having as much likeness to his natural mirth; as 
hothouse peas at five guineas the quart resemble in flavour the 
growth of the dews, and air, and rain of Heaven. But as one 
o'clock, the hour for going aboard, drew near, this volubility 
dwindled away by little and little, despite the most-persevering 
efforts to the contrary, until at last, the matter being now quite 
desperate, we threw off all disguise ; openly speculated upon 
where we should be this time to-morrow, this time next day, 
and so forth ; and intrusted a vast number of messages to those 
who intended returning to town that night, which were to be 
delivered at home and elsewhere, without fail, within the very 
shortest possible space of time after the arrival of the railway 
train at Euston Square. And commissions and remembrances 
do so crowd upon one at such a time, that we were still busied 
with this employment when we found ourselves fused, as it were, 
into a dense conglomeration of passengers and passengers' friends 
and passengers' luggage, all jumbled together on the deck of a 
small steamboat, and panting and snorting off to the packet, 
which had worked out of dock yesterday afternoon, and was now 
lying at her moorings in the river. 

And there she is ! all eyes are turned to where she lies, dimly 
discernible through the gathering fog of the early winter after- 
noon ; every finger is pointed in the same direction ; and 
murmurs of interest and admiration — as " How beautiful she 
looks ! " " How trim she is ! " — are heard on every side. 
Even the lazy gentleman with his hat on one side and his hands 
in his pockets, who has dispensed so much consolation by 



$ AMERICAN NOTES 

inquiring with a yawn of another gentleman whether he ia 
" going across "—as if it were a ferry — even he condescends to 
look that way, and nod his head, as who should say, " No 
mistake about that : " and not even the sage Lord Burleigh 
in his nod included half so much as this lazy gentleman of 
might who has made the passage (as everybody on board 
has found out already ; it's impossible to say how) thirteen 
times without a single accident ! There is another passenger 
very much wrapped up, who has been frowned down by the 
rest, and morally trampled upon and crushed, for presuming to 
inquire with a timid interest how long it is since the poor 
President went down. He is standing close to the lazy gentle- 
man, and says with a faint smile that he believes She is a very 
strong Ship ; to which the lazy gentleman, looking first in his 
questioner's eye and then very hard in the wind's, answers 
unexpectedly and ominously, that She need be. Upon this the 
lazy gentleman instantly falls very low in the popular estima- 
tion, and the passengers, with looks of defiance, whisper to each 
other that he is an ass and an impostor, and clearly don't know 
anything at all about it. 

But we are made fast alongside the packet, whose huge red 
funnel is smoking bravely, giving rich promise of serious inten- 
tions. Packing-cases, portmanteaus, carpet bags, and boxes 
are already passed from hand to hand, and hauled on board 
with breathless rapidity. The officers, smartly dressed, are at 
the gangway, handing the passengers up the side, and hurrying 
the men. In five minutes' time the little steamer is utterly 
deserted, and the packet is beset and overrun by its late freight, 
who instantly pervade the whole ship, and are to be met with 
by the dozen in every nook and corner : swarming down below 
with their own baggage, and stumbling over other people's ; 
disposing themselves comfortably in wrong cabins, and creating 
a most horrible confusion by having to turn out again ; madly 
bent upon opening locked doors, and on forcing a passage into 
all kinds of out-of-the-way places where there is no thorough* 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 9 

fare ; sending wild stewards, with elfin hair, to and fro upon the 
breezy decks on unintelligible errands, impossible of execution ; 
and, in short, creating the most extraordinary and bewildering 
tumult. In the midst of all this, the lazy gentleman, who 
seems to have no luggage of any kind — not so much as a friend 
even — lounges up and down the hurricane deck, coolly puffing 
a cigar ; and, as this unconcerned demeanour again exalts him 
in the opinion of those who have leisure to observe his proceed- 
ings, every time he looks up at the masts, or down at the decks, 
or over the side, they look there too, as wondering whether he 
sees anything wrong anywhere, and hoping that, in case he 
should, he will have the goodness to mention it. 

What have we here ? The captain's boat ! and yonder the 
captain himself. Now, by all our hopes and wishes, the very 
man he ought to be ! A well-made, tight-built, dapper little 
fellow ; with a ruddy face, which is a letter of invitation to 
shake him by both hands at once ; and with a clear blue, honest 
eye, that it does one good to see one's sparkling image in. 
" Eing the bell ! " " Ding, ding, ding ! " the very bell is in a 
hurry. " Now for the shore — who's for the shore ? " — " These 
gentlemen, I am sorry to say." They are away, and never said 
Good-bye. Ah ! now they wave it from the little boat. " Good- 
bye ! Good-bye ! " Three cheers from them ; three more from 
us ; three more from them ; and they are gone. 

To and fro, to and fro, to and fro again a hundred times ! 
This waiting for the latest mail-bags is worse than all. If we 
could have gone off in the midst of that last burst, we should 
have started triumphantly : but to lie here, two hours and more, 
in the damp fog, neither staying at home nor going abroad, is 
letting one gradually down into the very depths of dulness and 
low spirits. A speck in the mist, at last ! That's something. 
It is the boat we wait for ! That's more to the purpose. The 
captain appears on the paddle-box with his speaking trumpet ; 
the officers take their stations ; all hands are on the alert ; the 
flagging hopes of the passengers revive ; the cooks pause in 



10 AMERICAN NOTES 

their savoury wor&, and look out with faces full of interest. The 
boat comes alongside ; the bags are dragged in anyhow, and 
flung down for the moment anywhere. Three cheers more : 
and, as the first one rings upon our ears, the vessel throbs like 
a strong giant that has just received the breath of life ; the 
two great wheels turn fiercely round for the first time ; and the 
noble ship, with wind and tide astern, breaks proudly through 
the lashed and foaming water. . - 



CHAPTER II. 



THE PASSAGE OUT. 



TITE all dined together that day ; and a rather formidable 
" party "we"~ were : ho fewer than eighty-six strong. The 
vessel' being pretty deep' in "the "Water; with all' her 'cbals""on 
board and so many passengers, and the weather being calm arid 
quie'ty there was "but little motion ; so "that before the" "dinner 
was "half over, even those passengers who were iriost distrustful 
of themselves plucked up amazingly ; and those who in the 
morning had returned to the universal question, " Are you a 
good sailor ? " a very decided negative, now either parried the 
inquiry with the evasive reply, " Oh ! I suppose I'm no worse 
than anj r body else ; " or, reckless of all moral obligations, 
answered boldly, " Yes : " and with some irritation too, as 
though they would add, " I should like to know what you see 
in 'me, sir, particularly, to justify suspicion ! " 

Notwithstanding this high tone of courage and confidence, 
I could not but observe that very few remained long over their 
wine ; and that "everybody had an unusual love of the open air; 
arid that the favourite and most coveted seats were invariably 
those nearest to the door. The tea-table, too, was by no means 
as well attended as the dinner-table ; and there was less whist- 
playirig than inight have beenexpeeted. . "Still, with the excep-. 
tiori'of one lady," "who had'retired" with some precipitation at 
diririer-tiirie, immediately after being assisted to the finest cut of 
a very yellow boiled leg of iriutton with very green capers, there 
were no invalids as yet ; arid walking, and smoking, and drink- 
ing of brandy-and-water (but always in the open air), went on 



12 AMERICAN NOTES 

with unabated spirit until eleven o'clock, or thereabouts, when 
" turning in" — no sailor of seven hours' experience talks of going 
to bed — became the order of the night. The perpetual tramp 
of boot-heels on the decks gave place to a heavy silence, and 
the whole human freight was stowed away below, excepting a 
very few stragglers like myself, who were probably, like me, 
afraid to go there. 

To one unaccustomed to such scenes, this is a very striking time 
on shipboard. Afterwards, and when its novelty had long worn 
off, it never ceased to have a peculiar interest and charm for 
me. The gloom through which the great black mass holds its 
direct and certain course ; the rushing water, plainly heard, but 
dimly seen ; the broad, white, glistening track that follows in 
the vessel's wake ; the men on the look-out forward, who would 
be scarcely visible against the dark sky, but for their blotting 
out some score of glistening stars ; the helmsman at the wheel, 
with the illuminated card before him, shining, a speck of light 
amidst the darkness, like something sentient and of Divine intel- 
ligence ; the melancholy sighing of the wind through block, 
and rope, and chain ; the gleaming forth of light from every 
crevice, nook, and tiny piece of glass about the decks, as though 
the ship were filled with fire in hiding, ready to burst through 
any outlet, wild with its resistless power of death and ruin. At 
first, too, and even when the hour, and all the objects it exalts, 
have come to be familiar, it is difficult, alone and thoughtful, to 
hold them to their proper shapes and forms. They change with 
the wandering fancy ; assume the semblance of things left far 
away ; put on the well -remembered aspect of favourite places 
dearly loved; and even people them with shadows. Streets, 
houses, rooms ; figures so like their usual occupants, that they 
have startled me by their reality, which far exceeded, as it seemed 
to me, all power of mine to conjure up the absent ; have, many 
and many a time, at such an hour, grown suddenly out of 
objects with whose real look, and use, and purpose I was as 
well acquainted as with my own two hands. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 3 

My own two hands, and feet likewise, being very cold, how- 
ever, on this particular occasion, I crept below at midnight. It 
was not exactly comfortable below. It was decidedly close ; 
and it was impossible to be unconscious of the presence of that 
extraordinary compound of strange smells, which is to be found 
nowhere but on board ship, and which is such a subtle perfume 
that it seems to enter at every pore of the skin, and whisper of 
the hold. Two passengers' wives (one of them my own) lay 
already in silent agonies on the sofa ; and one lady's maid {my 
lady's) was a mere bundle on the floor, execrating her destiny, 
and pounding her curl-papers among the stray boxes. Every- 
thing sloped the wrong way; which in itself was an aggravation 
scarcely to be borne. I had left the door open, a moment 
before, in the bosom of a gentle declivity, and, when I turned 
to shut it, it was on the summit of a lofty eminence. Now 
every plank and timber creaked, as if the ship were made of 
wicker-work ; and now crackled like an enormous fire of the 
driest possible twigs. There was nothing for it but bed ; so I 
went to bed. 

It was pretty much the same for the next two days, with a 
tolerably fair wind and dry weather. I read in bed (but to 
this hour I don't know what) a good deal ; and reeled on deck 
a little ; drank cold brandy-and- water with an unspeakable disgust, 
and ate hard biscuit perseveringly : not ill, but going to be. 

It is the third morning. I am awakened out of my sleep 
by a dismal shriek from my wife, who demands to know whether 
there's any danger. I rouse myself, and look out of bed. The 
water jug is plunging and leaping like a lively dolphin ; all the 
smaller articles are afloat, except my shoes, which are stranded 
on a carpet bag, high and dry, like a couple of coal-barges. 
Suddenly I see them spring into the air, and behold the looking- 
glass, which is nailed to the wall, sticking fast upon the ceiling. 
At the same time the door entirely disappears, and a new one 
is opened in the floor. Then I begin to comprehend that the 
state-room is standing on its head. 



14 AMERICAN NOTES 

Before it is possible to make any arrangement at all com- 
patible with this novel state of things, the ship rights. Before 
one can say " Thank E[eaven ! " she wrongs again. Before one 
can cry she is wrong, she seems to have started forward, and to 
be a creature actively running of its own accord, with broken 
knees and failing legs, throitgh every variety of hole and pitfall, 
and stumbling constantly. Before one can so much as wonder, 
she takes a high leap into the air. Before she has well done 
that, she takes a deep dive into the water. Before she has 
gained the surface, she throws a summerset. The instant she is 
on her legs, she rushes backward. And so she goes on stagger- 
ing, heaving, wrestling, leaping, diving, jumping, pitching, throb- 
bing, rolling, and rocking : and going through all these move- 
ments, sometimes by turns, and sometimes all together : until 
one feels disposed to roar for mercy. 

A steward passes. "Steward!" "Sir?" "What is the 
matter ? what do you call this ? " " Bather a heavy sea on, sir, 
and a head wind." 

A head wind ! Imagine a human face upon the vessel's prow, 
with fifteen thousand Samsons in one bent upon driving her back, 
and hitting her exactly between the eyes whenever she attempts 
to advance an inch. Imagine the ship herself, with every pulse 
and artery of her huge body swollen and bursting under this 
maltreatment, sworn to go on or die. Imagine the wind howl- 
ing, the sea roaring, the rain beating : all in furious array against 
her. Picture the sky both dark and wild, and the clouds, in 
fearful sympathy with the waves, making another ocean in the 
air. Add to all this the clattering on deck and down below ; 
the tread of hurried feet ; the loud hoarse shouts of seamen ; 
the gurgling in and -out of water through the scuppers ; with 
every now and then the striking of a heavy sea upon the 
planks above, with the deep, dead, heavy sound of thunder heard 
within a vault; and there is the head wind of that January 
morning. 

I say nothing of what may be called the domestic noises of 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 5 

the ship : such as the breaking of glass and crockery, the 
tumbling down of stewards, the gambols, overhead, of loose 
casks and truant dozens of bottled porter, and the very remark- 
able and far from exhilarating sounds raised in their various 
state rooms by the seventy passengers who were too ill to get up 
to breakfast. I say nothing of them : for although I lay listen- 
ing to this concert for three or four days, I don't think I heard 
ifc for more than a quarter of a minute, at the expiration of 
which term, I lay down again, excessively sea -sick. 

Not sea-sick, be it understood, in the ordinary acceptation of 
the term : I wish I had been : but in a form which I have never 
seen or heard described, though I have no doubt it is very 
common. I lay there, all the day long, quite coolly and con- 
tentedly ; with no sense of weariness, with no desire to get up, 
or get better, or take the air ; with no curiosity, or care, or 
regret, of any sort or degree, saving that I think I can remember, 
in this universal indifference, having a kind of lazy joy — of 
fiendish delight, if anything so lethargic can be dignified with 
the title — in the fact of my wife being too ill to talk to me. If 
I may be allowed to illustrate my state of mind by such an 
example, I should say that I was exactly in the condition of the 
elder Mr. Willet, after the incursion of the rioters into his bar 
at Chigwell. Nothing would have surprised me. If, in the 
momentary illumination of any ray of intelligence that may have 
come upon me in the way of thoughts of Home, a goblin post- 
man, with a scarlet coat and bell, had come into that little 
kennel before me, broad awake, in broad day, and, apologising for 
being damp through walking in the sea, had handed me a letter, 
directed to myself, in familiar characters, I am certain I should 
not have felt one atom of astonishment : I should have been 
perfectly satisfied. If Neptune himself had walked in, with a 
toasted shark on his trident, I should have looked upon the 
event as one of the very commonest every-day occurrences. 
. Once — once — I found myself on deck. I don't know how I 
got there, or what possessed me to go there, but there I was 5 



1 6 AMERICAN NOTES 

and completely dressed too, with a huge pea-coat on, and a pair 
of boots such as no weak man in his senses could ever have got 
into. I found myself standing, when a gleam of consciousness 
came upon me. holding on to something. I don't know what. 
I think it was the boatswain : or it may have been the pump : 
or possibly the cow. I can't say how long I had been there ; 
whether a day or a minute. I recollect trying to think about 
something (about anything in the whole wide world, I was not 
particular) without the smallest effect. I could not even make 
out which was the sea, and which the sky ; for the horizon 
seemed drunk, and was flying wildly about in all directions. 
Even in that incapable state, however, I recognised the lazy 
gentleman standing before me : nautically clad in a suit of 
shaggy blue, with an oil-skin hat. But I was too imbecile, 
although I knew it to be he, to separate him from his dress ; 
and tried to call him, I remember, Pilot. After another 
interval of total unconsciousness, I found he had gone, and 
recognised another figure in its place. It seemed to wave and 
fluctuate before me as though I saw it reflected in an unsteady 
looking-glass ; but I knew it for the captain ; and such was the 
cheerful influence of his face, that I tried to smile : yes, even 
then I tried to smile. I saw by his gestures that he addressed 
me ; but it was a long time before I Could make out that he 
remonstrated against my standing up to my knees in water — as 
I was ; of course I don't know why. I tried to thank him, 
but couldn't. I could -only point to my boots — or wherever I 
supposed my boots to be — and say in a plaintive voice, " Cork 
soles : " at the same time endeavouring, I am told, to sit down 
in the pool. Finding that I was quite insensible, and for the 
time a maniac, he humanely conducted me below. 

There I remained until I got better : suffering, whenever I 
was recommended to eat anything, an amount of anguish only 
second to that which is said to be endured by the apparently 
drowned, in the process of restoration to life. One gentleman 
on board had a letter of introduction to me from a mutual 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 7 

friend in London. He sent it below with his card, on the 
morning of the head wind ; and I was long troubled with the 
idea that he might be up, and well, and a hundred times a day- 
expecting me to call upon him in the saloon. I imagined him 
one of those cast-iron images — I will not call them men — who 
ask, with red faces and lusty voices, what sea-sickness means, 
and whether it really is as bad as it is represented to be. This 
was very torturing indeed ; and I don't think I ever felt such 
perfect gratification and gratitude of heart as I did when I 
heard from the ship's doctor that he had been obliged to put a 
large mustard poultice on this very gentleman's stomach. I 
date my recovery from the receipt of that intelligence. 

It was materially assisted though, I have no doubt, by a 
heavy gale of wind, which came slowly up at sunset, when we 
were about ten days out, and raged with gradually increasing 
fury until morning, saving that it lulled for an hour a little 
before midnight. There was something in the unnatural repose 
of that hour, and in the after gathering of the storm, so incon- 
ceivably awful and tremendous, that its bursting into full 
violence was almost a relief. 

The labouring of the ship in the troubled sea on this night I 
shall never forget. "Will it ever be worse than this?" was a 
question I had often heard asked, when everything was sliding 
and bumping about, and when it certainly did seem difficult to 
comprehend the possibility of anything afloat being more dis- 
turbed, without toppling over and going down. But what the 
agitation of a steam-vessel is, on a bad winter's night in the wild 
Atlantic, it is impossible for the most vivid imagination to con- 
ceive. To say that she is flung down on her side in the waves, 
with her masts dipping into them, and that, springing up again, 
she rolls over on the other side, until a heavy sea strikes her 
with the noise of a hundred great guns, and hurls her back — ■ 
that she stops, and staggers, and shivers, as though Stunned, 
and then, with a violent throbbing at her heart, darts onward 
like a monster goaded into madness, to be beaten down, and 

c 



1 8 'AMERICAN NOTES 

battered, and crushed, and leaped on by the angry sea — that 
thunder, lightning, hail, and rain, and wind are all in fierce 
contention for the- mastery — that every plank, has its groan, 
every nail its shriek, and every drop of water in the great ocean 
its howling voice — is nothing. To say that all is grand, and 
all appalling and horrible in the last degree, is nothing. Words 
cannot express it. Thoughts cannot convey it. Only a dream 
can call it up again in all its fury, rage, and passion. 

And yet, in the very midst of these terrors, I was placed in a 
situation so exquisitely ridiculous, that even then I had as strong 
a sense of its absurdity as I have now : and could no more help 
laughing than I can at any other comical incident, happening 
under circumstances the most favourable to its enjoyment. 
About midnight we shipped a sea, which forced its way through 
the sky-lights, burst open the doors above, and came raging and 
roaring down into the ladies' cabin, to the unspeakable con- 
sternation of my wife and a little Scotch lady — who, by the 
way, had previously sent a message to the captain by the 
stewardess, requesting him, with her compliments, to have a 
steel conductor immediately attached to the top of every mast, 
and to the chimney, in order that the ship might not be struck 
by lightning. They, and the handmaid before mentioned, 
being in such ecstasies of fear that I scarcely knew what to do 
with them, I naturally bethought myself of some restorative or 
comfortable cordial ; and nothing better occurring to me, at" the 
moment, than hot brandy-and-water, I procured a tumblerful 
without delay. It being impossible to stand or sit without 
holding on, they were all heaped together in one corner of a long 
sofa — a fixture, extending entirely across the cabin — where they 
clung to each other in momentary expectation of being drowned. 
When I approached this place with my specific, and was about 
to administer it, with many consolatory expressions, to the 
nearest sufferer, what was my dismay to see them all roll slowly 
down to the other end ! And when I staggered to that end, 
and held out the glass once more, how immensely baffled were 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 9 

my good intentions by the ship giving another lurch, and their 
all rolling back again ! I suppose I dodged them up and 
down this sofa for at least a quarter of an hour, without reach- 
ing them once ; and, by the time I did catch them, the brandy - 
and-water was diminished, by constant spilling, to a tea-spoonful. 
To complete the group, it is necessary to recognise, in- this dis- 
concerted dodger, an individual very pale from sea-sickness, 
who had shaved his beard and brushed his hair last at Liver- 
pool : and whose only articles of dress (linen not included) were 
a pair of dreadnought trousers ; a blue jacket, formerly admired 
upon the Thames at Richmond : no stockings ; and one slipper. 

Of the outrageous antics performed by that ship next morn- 
ing ; which made bed a practical joke, and getting up, by any 
process short of > falling out, an impossibility ; I say nothing. 
But anything like the utter dreariness and desolation that met 
my eyes when I literally " tumbled up " on deck at noon, I 
never saw. Ocean and sky were all of one dull, heavy, uniform, 
lead colour. There was no extent of prospect even over the 
dreary waste that lay around us, for the sea ran high, and the 
horizon encompassed us like a large black hoop. Viewed from 
the air, or some tall bluff on shore, it would have been imposing 
and stupendous, no doubt ; but seen from the wet and rolling 
decks, it only impressed one giddily and painfully. In the gale 
of last night the life-boat had been crushed by one blow of the 
sea like a walnut shell ; and there it hung dangling in the air : 
a mere faggot of crazy boards. The planking of the paddle- 
boxes had been torn sheer away. The wheels were exposed and 
bare ; and they whirled and dashed their spray about the decks 
at random. Chimney white with crusted salt ; topmasts struck; 
storm-sails set ; rigging all knotted, tangled, wet, and drooping : 
a gloomier picture it would be hard to look upon. 

I was now comfortably established by courtesy in the ladies' 
cabin, where, besides ourselves, there were only four other 
passengers. First, the little Scotch lady before mentioned, on 
her way to join her husband at. New York, who had settled 

C2 



id American notes 

there three years before. Secondly and thirdly, an honest 
young Yorkshireman, connected with some American house ; 
domiciled in that same city, and carrying thither his beautiful . 
young wife, to whom he had been married but a fortnight, and 
who was the fairest specimen of a comely English country girl I 
have ever seen. Fourthly, fifthly, and lastly, another couple : 
newly married too, if one might judge from the endearments 
they frequently interchanged : of whom I know no more than 
that they were rather a mysterious, runaway kind of couple ; 
that the lady had great personal attractions also ; and that the 
gentleman carried more guns with him than Kobinson Crusoe, 
wore a shooting coat, and had two great dogs on board. On 
further consideration, I remember that he tried hot roast pig and 
bottled ale as a cure for sea-sickness ; and that he took these 
remedies (usually in bed) day after day, with astonishing per- 
severance. I may add, for the information of the curious, that 
they decidedly failed. 

The weather continuing obstinately and almost unprece- 
dentedly bad, we usually straggled into this cabin, more or less 
faint and miserable, about an hour before noon, and lay down 
on the sofas to recover ; during which interval the captain 
vould look in to communicate the state of the wind, the moral 
certainty of its changing to-morrow (the weather is always going 
to improve to-morrow, at sea), the vessel's rate of sailing, and so 
forth. Observations there were none to tell us of, for there 
was no sun to take them by. But a description of one day will 
serve for all the rest. Here it is. 

The captain being gone, we compose ourselves to read, if the 
place be light enough ; and if not, we doze and talk alternately. 
At one a bell rings, and the stewardess comes down with a 
steaming dish of baked potatoes, and another of roasted apples ; 
and plates of pig's face, cold ham, salt beef; or perhaps a 
smoKing mess of rare hot collops. We fall-to upon these 
dainties ; east as much as we can (we have great appetites now) ; 
and are as long as possible about it. If the fire will burn (it 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 21 

V , 
will sometimes), we are pretty cheerful. If it won't, we all 

remark to each other that it's very cold, rub our hands, cover 
ourselves with coats and cloaks, and lie down again to doze, 
talk, and read (provided as aforesaid), until dinner-time. At 
five another bell rings, and the stewardess reappears with 
another dish of potatoes — boiled this time — and store of hot 
meat of various kinds : not forgetting the roast pig, to be taken 
medicinally. We sit down at table again (rather more cheer- 
fully than before) ; prolong the meal with a rather mouldy 
dessert of apples, grapes, and oranges ; and drink our wine 
and brandy-and-water. The bottles and glasses are still upon 
the table, and the oranges and so forth are rolling about 
according to their fancy and the ship's way, when the doctor 
comes down, by special nightly invitation, to join our evening 
rubber : immediately on whose arrival we make a party at whist, 
and, as it is a rough night and the cards will not lie on the cloth, 
we put the tricks in our pockets as we take them. At whist we 
remain with exemplary gravity (deducting a short time for tea 
and toast) until eleven o'clock, or thereabouts ; when the captain 
comes down again, in a sou' -wester hat tied under his chin, and 
a pilot coat : making the ground wet where he stands. By this 
time the card-playing is over, and the bottles and glasses are 
again upon the table ; and after an hour's pleasant conversation 
about the ship, the passengers, and things in general, the captain 
(who never goes to bed, and is never out of humour) turns up 
his coat collar for the deck again ; shakes hands all round ; and 
goes laughing out into the weather as merrily as to a birthday 
party. 

As to daily news, there is no dearth of that commodity. 
This passenger is reported to have lost fourteen pounds at 
Vingt-et-un in the saloon yesterday ; and that passenger drinks 
his bottle of champagne every day, and how he does it (being 
only a clerk), nobody knows. The head engineer has distinctly 
said that there never was such times — meaning weather — and 
four good hands are ill, and have given in, dead beat. Several 



22 AMERICAN NOTES ; 

be.-ths are full of water, and all the cabins are. leaky. The ship's 
cook, sesretly swigging damaged whiskey, has been, found drunk; 
and has been played upon by the fire-engine until quite sober. 
All the stewards have fallen down-stairs at various dinner-times, 
and go about with plasters in various places. The baker is ill, 
and so is the pastrycook. A new man, horribly indisposed, has 
been required to fill the place of the latter officer ; and has been 
propped and jammed up with empty casks in a little house upon 
desk, and commanded to roll out pie-crusts, which he protests 
(being highly bilious) it is death to him to look at. News ! A 
dozen murders on shore would lack the interest of these slight 
incidents at sea. 

Divided between our rubber and such topics as these, we were 
running (as we thought) into Halifax Harbour, on the fifteenth 
night, with little wind and a bright moon — indeed, we had 
made the Light at its outer entrance, and put the pilot in 
charge : — when suddenly the ship struck upon a bank of mud. 
An immediate rush on deck took place, of course ; the sides 
were crowded in an instant ; and for a few minutes we were in 
as lively a state of confusion as the greatest lover of disorder 
would desire to see. The passengers, and- guns, and water 
casks, and other heavy matters, being all huddled together aft, 
however, to lighten her in the head, she was soon got off ; and 
after some driving on towards an uncomfortable line of objects 
(whose vicinity had been announced very early in the disaster 
by a loud cry of "Breakers ahead!") and much backing of 
paddles, and heaving of the lead into a constantly decreasing 
depth of water, we dropped anchor in a strange outlandish-look-^ 
ing nook which nobody on board could recognise, although there 
was land all about us, and so close that we could plainly see the 
waving branches of the trees. 

It was strange enough, in the silence of midnight, and the 
dead stillness that seemed to be created by the sudden and 
unexpected stoppage of the engine, which had been clanking 
and blasting in our ears incessantly for so many days, to watch 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 23 

the look of blank astonishment expressed in every face : begin- 
ning with the officers, tracing it through all the passengers, and 
descending to the very stokers and furnace-men, who emerged 
from below, one by one, and clustered together in a smoky 
group about the hatchway of the engine-room, comparing notes 
in whispers. After throwing up a few rockets and firing signal 
guns in the hope of being hailed from the land, or at least of seeing 
a light — but without any other sight or sound presenting itself 
— it was determined to send a boat on shore. It was amusing 
to observe how very kind some of the passengers were, in 
volunteering to go ashore in this same boat : for the general 
good, of course : not by any means because they thought the 
ship in an unsafe position, or contemplated the possibility of her 
heeling over in case the tide were running out. Nor was it less 
amusing to remark, how desperately unpopular the poor pilot 
became in one short minute. He had had his passage out 
from Liverpool, and during the whole voyage had been quite a 
notorious character, as a teller of anecdotes and cracker of 
jokes. Yet here were the very men who had laughed the 
loudest at his jests, now - flourishing - their fists in his face, 
loading him with imprecations, and defying him to his teeth as 
a villain ! 
- The boat soon shoved off, with a lantern and sundry blue 
lights on board ; and in less than an hour returned ; the 
officer in command bringing with him a tolerably tall young 
tree, which he had plucked up by the roots, to satisfy certain 
distrustful passengers whose minds misgave them that they 
were to be imposed upon and shipwrecked, and who would on 
no other terms believe that he had been ashore, or had done 
anything but fraudulently row a little way into the mist, specially 
to deceive them and compass their deaths. Our captain had 
foreseen from the first that we must be in a place called the 
Eastern passage ; and so we were. It was about the last place 
in the world in which we had any business or reason to be, but 
a sudden fog, and some error on the pilot's part, were the cause. 



24 AMERICAN NOTES 

We were surrounded by banks, and rocks, and shoals of all 
kinds, but bad bappily drifted, it seemed, upon the only safe 
speck that was to be found thereabouts. Eased by this report, 
and by the assurance that the tide was past the ebb, we turned 
in at three o'clock in the morning. 

I was dressing about half-past nine next day, when the noise 
above hurried me on deck. When I had left it overnight, it 
was dark, foggy, and damp, and there were bleak hills all round 
us. Now, we were gliding down a smooth, broad stream, at 
the rate of eleven miles an hour : our colours flying gaily ; our 
crew rigged out in their smartest clothes ; our officers in 
uniform again ; the sun shining as on a brilliant April day in 
England ; the land stretched out on either side, streaked with 
light patches of snow ; white wooden houses ; people at their 
doors ; telegraphs working ; flags hoisted ; wharfs appearing ; 
ships ; quays crowded with people ; distant noises ; shouts ; 
men and boys running down steep places towards the pier ; all 
more bright and gay and fresh to our unused eyes than words 
can paint them. We came to a wharf, paved with uplifted 
faces ; got alongside, and were made fast, after some shouting 
and straining of cables ; darted, a score of us, along the gang- 
way, almost as soon as it was thrust out to meet us, and before 
it had reached the ship — and leaped upon the firm glad earth 
again f 

I suppose this Halifax would have appeared an Elysium, 
though it had been a curiosity of ugly dulness. But I carried 
away with me a most pleasant _ impression of the town and its 
inhabitants, and have preserved it to this hour. Nor was it 
without regret that I came home, without having found an 
opportunity of returning thither, and once more shaking hands 
with the friends I made that day. 

It happened to be the opening of the Legislative Council 
and General Assembly, at which ceremonial the forms observed 
on the commencement of a new Session of Parliament in England 
were so closely copied, and so gravely presented on a small 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 2$ 

scale, that it was like looking at Westminster through the 
wrong end of a telescope. The governor, as her Majesty's 
representative, delivered what may be called the Speech from 
the Throne. He said what he had to say manfully and well. 
The military band outside the building struck up " God save 
the Queen " with great vigour before his Excellency had quite 
finished ; the people shouted ; -the ins rubbed their hands ; the 
outs shook their heads ; the Government party said there never 
was such a good speech ; the opposition declared there never 
was such a bad one ; the Speaker and members of the House 
of Assembly withdrew from the bar to say a great deal among 
themselves, and do a little ; and, in short, everything went on, 
and promised to go on, just as it does at home upon the like 
occasions. 

The town is built on the side of a hill, the highest point 
being commanded by a strong fortress, not yet quite finished. 
Several streets of good breadth and appearance extend from its 
summit to the water-side, and are intersected by cross-streets 
running parallel with the river. The houses are chiefly of 
wood. The market is abundantly supplied : and provisions 
are exceedingly cheap. The weather being unusually mild at 
that time for the season of the year, there was no sleighing : 
but there were plenty of those vehicles in yards and by-places, 
and some of them, from the gorgeous quality of their decora- 
tions, might have " gone on " without alteration as triumphal 
cars in a melodrama at Astley's. The day was uncommonly 
fine ; the air bracing and healthful ; the whole aspect of the 
town cheerful, thriving, and industrious. 

We lay there seven hours, to deliver and exchange the mails. 
At length, having collected all our bags and all our passengers 
(including two or three choice spirits, who, having indulged too 
freely in oysters and champagne, were found lying insensible on 
their backs in unfrequented streets), the engines were again put 
in motion, and we stood off for Boston. 

Encountering squally weather again in the Bay of Fundy, we 



26 >■':.. AMERICAN NOTES _ <_ 

tumbled and rolled about as usual all that night and all next 
day. On the next afternoon — that is to say, on Saturday, the 
twenty-second of January — an American pilot-boat came along- 
side, and soon afterwards the Britannia steam-packet ; from 
Liverpool, eighteen days out, was telegraphed at Boston. 

The indescribable interest with which I strained my eyes, 
as the first patches of American soil peeped like molehills from 
the green sea, and followed them, as they swelled,, by slow 
and almost imperceptible degrees, into a continuous line of 
coast, can hardly be exaggerated. A sharp keen wind blew 
dead against us ; a hard frost prevailed on shore ; and the 
cold was most severe. Yet the air was so intensely clear, and 
dry, and bright, that the temperature was not only endurable, 
but delicious. 

How I remained on deck, staring about me, until we came 
alongside the dock, and how, though I had had as many eyes 
as Argus, I should have had them all wide open, and all 
employed on new objects— are topics which I will not prolong 
this chapter to discuss. "Neither" will I more than hint at my 
foreigner-like mistake, in supposing that a party of most active 
persons, who scrambled on board at the peril of their lives as 
we approached the wharf, were newsmen, answering to that 
industrious class at home; whereas, despite the leathern wallets 
of news slung about the necks of some, and the broadsheets in 
the hands of all, they were Editors, who boarded ships in person 
(as one gentleman in a worsted comforter informed me), " because 
they liked the excitement of it." Suffice it in this place to say, 
that one of these invaders, with a ready courtesy for which I 
thank him here most gratefully, went on before to order rooms 
at the hotel ; and that when I followed, as I soon did, I found 
myself rolling through the long passages with an involuntary 
imitation of the gait of Mr. T. P. Cooke, in a new nautical 
melodrama. 

" Dinner, if you please," said I to the waiter. 

" When ?" said the waiter. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 27 

" As quick as possible," said I. 

" Eight away ? " said the waiter. 

After a moment's hesitation, I answered, " No," at hazard. 

"Not right away?" cried the waiter, with an amount of 
surprise that made me start. 

I looked at him doubtfully, and returned, " No ; I would 
rather have it in this private room. I like it very much." 

At this I really thought the waiter must have gone out of his 
mind ; as I believe he would have done, but for the interposi- 
tion of another man, who whispered in his ear, " Directly." 

"Well! and that's a fact!" said the waiter, looking help- 
lessly at me. " Right away." 

I saw now that "Right away" and "Directly" were one 
and the same thing. So I reversed my previous answer, and 
sat down to dinner in ten minutes afterwards ; and a capital 
dinner it was. 

The hotel (a very excellent one) is called the Tremont House. 
It has more galleries, colonnades, piazzas, and passages than I 
can remember, or the reader would believe. 



CHAPTER III. 



TN all the public establishments of America the utmost 
-*- courtesy prevails. Most of our Departments are suscep- 
tible of considerable improvement in this respect, but the 
Custom House, above all others, would do well to take example 
from the United States, and render itself somewhat less odious 
and offensive to foreigners. The servile rapacity of the French 
officials is sufficiently contemptible ; but there is a surly, 
boorish incivility about our men, alike disgusting to all persons 
who fall into their hands, and discreditable to the nation that 
keeps such ill-conditioned "curs snarling about its gates. 

When I landed in America, I could not help being strongly 
impressed with the contrast their Custom House presented, and 
the attention, politeness, and good-humour with which its 
officers discharged their duty. 

As we did not land at Boston, in consequence of some deten- 
tion at the wharf, until after dark, I received my first impres- 
sions of the city in walking down to the Custom House on the 
morning after our arrival, which was Sunday. I am afraid to 
say, by the way, how many offers of pews and seats in church 
for that morning were made to us, by formal note of invitation, 
before we had half finished our first dinner in America ; but if 
I may be allowed to make a moderate guess, without going into 
nicer calculation, I should say that at least as many sittings 
were proffered us as would have accommodated a score or two 
of grown-up families. The number of creeds and forms of 
religion to which the pleasure of our company was requested 
was in very fair proportion. 



£0r General Circulation. 29 

Not being able, in the absence of any change of clothes, to 
go to church that day, we were compelled to decline these 
kindnesses, one and all ; and I was reluctantly obliged to forego 
the delight of hearing Dr. Channing, who happened to preach 
that morning for the first time in a very long interval. I 
mention the name of this distinguished and accomplished man 
(with whom I soon afterwards had the pleasure of becoming 
personally acquainted), that I may have the gratification of 
recording my humble tribute of admiration and respect for his 
high abilities and character ; and for the bold philanthropy 
with which he has ever opposed himself to that most hideous 
blot and foul disgrace — Slavery. 

To return to Boston. "When I got into the streets upon this 
Sunday morning, the air was so clear, the houses were so bright 
and gay ; the sign-boards were painted in such gaudy colours ; 
the gilded letters were so very golden ; the bricks were so very 
red, the stone was so very white, the blinds and area railings 
were so very green, the knobs and plates upon the street-doors 
so marvellously bright and twinkling ; and all so slight and 
unsubstantial in appearance — that every thoroughfare in the 
city looked exactly like a scene in a pantomime. It rarely 
happens in the business streets that a tradesman — if I may 
venture to call anybody a tradesman, where everybody is a 
merchant — resides above his store ; so that many occupations 
are often carried on in one house, and the whole front is 
covered with boards and inscriptions. As I walked along, I kept 
glancing up at these boards, confidently expecting to see a few 
of them change into something ; and I never turned a corner 
suddenly without looking out for the Clown and Pantaloon, 
who, I had no doubt, were hiding in a doorway or behind 
some pillar close at hand. As to Harlequin and Columbine, I 
discovered immediately that they lodged (they are always look- 
ing after lodgings in a pantomime) at a very small clock- 
maker's, one story high, near the hotel ; which, in addition 
to various symbols and devices, almost covering the whole 



30 AMERICAN NOTES 

front, had a great dial hanging out — to be jumped through, of 
course. 

The suburbs are, if possible, even more unsubstantial-looking 
than the city. The white wooden houses (so white that it makes 
one wink to look at them), with their green jalousie blinds, are 
so sprinkled and dropped about in all directions, without seeming 
to have any root at all in the ground ; and the small churches 
and chapels are so prim, and bright, and highly varnished; that 
I almost believed the whole affair could be taken up piecemeal 
like a child's toy, and crammed into a little box. 

The city is a beautiful one, and cannot fail, I should imagine, 
to impress all strangers very favourably. The private dwelling- 
houses are, for the most part, large and elegant ; the shops 
extremely good ; and the public buildings handsome. The 
State House is built upon the summit of a hill, which rises 
gradually at first, and afterwards by a steep ascent, almost 
from the water's edge. In front is a green enclosure, called 
the Common. The site is beautiful : and from the top there 
is a charming panoramic view of the whole town and neigh- 
bourhood. In addition to a variety of commodious offices, it 
contains two handsome chambers : in one the House of Repre- 
sentatives of the State hold their meetings : in the other^ the 
Senate. Such proceedings as I saw here were conducted with 
perfect gravity and decorum ; and were certainly calculated - to 
inspire attention and respect. 

There is no doubt that much of the intellectual refinement 
and superiority of Boston is referable to the quiet influence of 
the University of Cambridge, which is within three or four miles 
of the city. The resident professors at that university are gen- 
tlemen of learning and varied attainments ; and are, without one 
exception that I can call to mind, men who would shed a grace 
upon, and do honour to, any society in the civilised world. Many 
of the resident gentry in Boston and its neighbourhood, and I 
think I am not mistaken in adding, a large majority of those 

who are attached to the liberal professions there, have been 

1/ i ' 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 3 1 

educated at this same school. Whatever the defects of American 
universities may he, they dis seminat e' no prejudice s ; rear no 
higots ; dig up the buried ashes of no old superstitions ; never 
interpose between the people and their improvement ; exclude 
no man because of his religious opinions ; above all, in their 
whole course of study and instruction, recognise a world, and a 
broad one too, lying beyond the co llege w alls. 

It was a source of inexpressible pleasure to me to observe the 
almost imperceptible, but not less certain effect, wrought by this 
institution among the small community of Boston ; and to note 
at every turn the humanising tastes and desires it has engen- 
dered ; the affectionate friendships to which it has given rise ; 
the amount of vanity and prejudice it has dispelled. The 
golden calf they worship at Boston is a pigmy compared with 
the giant effigies set up in other parts of that vast counting-j j 
house -which lies beyond the Atlantic ; and the almighty dollar \ 
sinks into something comparatively insignificant, amidst a whole 
Pantheon of better gods. 

Above all, I sincerely believe that the public institutions and 
charities of this capital of Massachusetts are as nearly perfect as 
the most considerate wisdom, benevolence, and humanity can 
make them. I never in my life was more affected by the con- 
templation of happiness, under circumstances of privation and 
bereavement, than in my visits to these establishments. 

It is a great and pleasant feature of all such institutions in"l 
America, that they are either supported by the State or assisted ' 
by the State ■ or (in the event of their not needing its helping 
hand) that they act in concert with it, and are emphatically the 
people's. I cannot but think, with a view to the principle and 
its tendency to elevate or depress the character of the industrious 
classes, that a Public Charity is immeasurably better than a 
Private Foundation, no matter how munificently the latter may \ 
be endowed. In our own country, where it has not, until *" 
within these later days, been a very popular fashion with 
governments to display any extraordinary regard for the great 



32 American notes 

mass of the people, or to recognise their existence as improvable 
creatures, private charities, unexampled in the history of the 
earth, have arisen, to do-an incalculable amount of good among 
the destitute and afflicted. But the government of the country, 
having neither act nor part in them, is not in the receipt of 
any portion of the gratitude they inspire ; and, offering very 
little shelter or relief beyond that which is to be found in the 
workhouse and the gaol, has come, not unnaturally, to be looked 
upon by the poor rather as a stern master, quick to correct and 
punish, than a kind protector, merciful and vigilant in their 
hour of need. 

The maxim, that out of evil cometh good, is strongly illus- 
trated by these establishments at home ; as the records of the 
Prerogative Office in Doctors' Commons can abundantly prove. 
Some immensely rich old gentleman or lady, surrounded by 
needy relatives, makes, upon a low average, a will a week. The 
old gentleman or lady, never very remarkable in the best of 
times for good temper, is full of aches and pains from head to 
foot ; full of fancies and caprices ; full of spleen, distrust, 
suspicion, and dislike. To cancel old wills, and invent new 
ones, is at last the sole business of such a testator's existence ; 
and relations and friends (some of whom have been bred up 
distinctly to inherit a large share of the property, and have 
been, from their cradles, specially disqualified from devoting 
themselves to any useful pursuit, on that account) are so often 
and so unexpectedly and summarily cut off, and reinstated, and 
cut off again, that the whole family, down to the remotest 
cousin, is kept in a perpetual fever. At length it becomes 
plain that the old lady or gentleman has not long to live ; and 
the plainer this becomes, the more clearly the old lady or 
gentleman perceives that everybody is in a conspiracy against 
their poor old dying relative ; wherefore the old lady or gentle- 
man makes another last will — positively the last this time — ■ 
conceals the same in a china teapot, and expires next day. 
Then it turns out, that the whole of the real and personal 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 33 

estate is divided between half-a-dozen charities ; and that the 
dead-and-gone testator has in pure spite helped to do a great 
deal of good, at the cost of an immense amount of evil passion 
and misery. 

The Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the 
Blind, at Boston, is superintended by a body of trustees who 
make an annual report to the corporation. The indigent blind 
of that State are admitted gratuitously. Those from the adjoin- 
ing State of Connecticut, or from the States of Maine, Vermont, 
or New Hampshire, are admitted by a warrant from the State 
to which they respectively belong ; or, failing that, must find 
security among their friends, for the payment of about twenty 
pounds English for their first year's board and instruction, and 
ten for the second. " After the first year," say the trustees, 
" an account current will be opened with each pupil ; he will 
be charged with the actual cost of his board, which will not 
exceed two dollars per week ;" a trifle more than eight shillings 
English ; " and he will be credited with the amount paid for 
him by the State, or by his friends; also with his earnings over 
and above the cost of the stock which he uses ; so that all his 
earnings over one dollar per week will be his own. By the 
third year it will be known whether his earnings will more than 
pay the actual cost of his board ; if they should, he will have it 
at his option to remain and receive his earnings, or not. Those 
who prove unable to earn their own livelihood will not be 
retained ; as it is not desirable to convert the establishment 
into an almshouse, or to retain any but working bees in the hive. 
Those who, by physical or mental imbecility, are disqualified for 
work, are thereby disqualified from being members of an indus- 
trious community ; and they can be better provided for in 
establishments fitted for the infirm." 

I went to see this place one very fine winter morning : an 
Italian sky above, and the air so clear and bright on every side, 
that even my eyes, which are none of the best, could follow the 
minute lines and scraps of tracery in distant buildings. Like 

D 



34 AMERICAN NOTES 

most other public institutions in America of the same class, it 
stands a mile or two without the town, in a cheerful, healthy 
spot ; and is an airy, spacious, handsome edifice. It is built 
upon a height, commanding the harbour. When I paused for 
a moment at the door, and marked how fresh and free the whole 
scene was — what sparkling bubbles glanced upon the waves, 
and welled up every moment to the surface, as though the 
world below, like that above, were radiant with the bright day, 
and gushing over in its fulness of light : when I gazed from 
sail to sail away upon a ship at sea, a tiny speck of shining 
white, the only cloud upon the still, deep, distant blue — and, 
turning, saw a blind boy with his sightless face addressed that 
way, as though he too had some sense within him of the 
glorious distance : I felt a kind of sorrow that the place should 
be so very light, and a strange wish that for his sake it were 
darker. It was but momentary, of course, and a mere fancy, 
but I felt it keenly for all that. 

The children were at their daily tasks in different rooms, 
except a few who were already dismissed, and were at play. 
Here, as in many institutions, no uniform is worn ; and I was 
very glad of it, for two reasons. Firstly, because I am sure 
that nothing but senseless custom and want of thought would 
reconcile us to the liveries and badges we are so fond of at 
home. Secondly, because the absence of these things presents 
each child to the visitor in his or her own proper character, 
with its individuality unimpaired ; not lost in a dull, ugly, 
monotonous repetition of the same unmeaning garb : which is 
really an important consideration. The wisdom of encouraging 
a little harmless pride in personal appearance even among the 
blind, or the whimsical absurdity of considering charity and 
leather breeches inseparable companions, as we do, requires no 
comment. 

1 Good order, cleanliness, and comfort pervaded every corner 
of the building. The various classes, who were gathered round 
their teachers, answered the questions put to them with readi- 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 35 

ness and intelligence, and in a spirit of cheerful contest for 
precedence which pleased me very much. Those who were at 
play were gleesome and noisy as other children. More spiritual 
and affectionate friendships appeared to exist among them than 
Avould be found among other young persons suffering under no 
deprivation ; but this I expected and was prepared to find. It 
is a part of the great scheme of Heaven's merciful consideration 
for the afflicted. 

In a portion of the building, set apart for that purpose, are 
workshops for blind persons whose education is finished, and 
who have acquired a trade, but Avho cannot pursue it in an 
ordinary manufactory because of their deprivation. Several 
people were at work here ; making brushes, mattresses, and so 
forth ; and the cheerfulness, industry, and good order dis- 
cernible in every other part of the building, extended to this 
department also. 

On the ringing of a bell, the pupils all repaired, without any 
guide or leader, to a spacious music-hall, where they took their 
seats in an orchestra erected for that purpose, and listened with 
manifest delight to a voluntary on the organ, played by one of 
themselves. At its conclusion, the performer, a boy of nine- 
teen, or twenty, gave place to a girl ; and to her accompaniment 
they all sang a hymn, and afterwards a sort of chorus. It was 
very sad to look upon and hear them, happy though their 
condition unquestionably was ; and I saw that one blind girl, 
who (being for the time deprived of the use of her limbs by ill- 
ness) sat close beside me with her face towards them, wept 
silently the while she listened. 

It is strange to watch the faces of the blind, and see how 
free they are from all concealment of what is passing in their 
thoughts ; observing which, a man with eyes may blush to 
contemplate the mask he wears. Allowing for one shade of 
anxious expression which is never absent from their counte- 
nances, and the like of which we may readily detect in our own 
faces jf we try to feel our way in the dark, every idea, as it rises 

D 2 



36 AMERICAN NOTES 

within them, is expressed with the lightning's speed, and 
nature's truth. If the company at a rout, or drawing-room at 
court, could only for one time be as unconscious of the eyes 
upon them as blind men and women are, what secrets would 
come out, and what a worker of hypocrisy this sight, the loss of 
which we so much pity, would appear to be ! 

The thought occurred to me as I sat down in another room, 
before a girl blind, deaf, and dumb ; destitute of smell ; and 
nearly so of taste : before a fair young creature with every 
human faculty, and hope, and power of goodness and affection, 
enclosed within her delicate frame, and but one outward sense 
— the sense of touch. There she was, before me ; built up, as 
it were, in a marble cell, impervious to any ray of light, or 
particle of sound ; with her poor white hand peeping through a 
chink in the wall, beckoning to some good man for help, that 
an Immortal soul might be awakened. 

Long before I looked upon her, the help had come. Her 
face was radiant with intelligence and pleasure. Her hair, 
braided by her own hands, was bound about a head whose 
intellectual capacity and development were beautifully expressed 
in its graceful outline, and its broad open brow ; her dress, 
arranged by herself, was a pattern of neatness and simplicity ; 
the work she had knitted lay beside her ; her writing-book was 
on the desk she leaned upon. From the mournful ruin of such 
bereavement, there had slowly risen up this gentle, tender, 
guileless, grateful-hearted being. 

Like other inmates of that house, she had a green ribbon 
bound round her eyelids. A doll she had dressed lay near 
upon the ground. I took it up, and saw that she had made a 
green fillet such as she wore herself, and fastened it about its 
mimic eyes. 

She was seated in a little enclosure, made by school desks 
and forms, writing her daily journal. But soon finishing this 
pursuit, she engaged in an animated communication with a 
teacher who sat beside her. This was a favourite mistress with 



for general circulation. 37 

the poor pupil. If she could see the face of her fair instructress^ 
she would not love her less, I am sure. 

I have extracted a few disjointed fragments of her history, 
from an account written by that one man who has made her 
what she is. It is a very beautiful and touching narrative ; 
and I wish I could present it entire. 

Her name is Laura Bridgman. " She was born in Hanover, 
New Hampshire, on the twenty-first of December, 1829. She 
is described as having been a very sprightly and pretty infant, 
with bright blue eyes. She was, however, so puny and feeble 
until she was a year and a half old, that her parents hardly 
hoped to rear her. She was subject to severe fits, which seemed 
to rack her frame almost beyond her power of endurance : and 
life was held by the feeblest tenure : but, when a year and a 
half old, she seemed to rally ; the dangerous symptoms sub- 
sided ; and, at twenty months old, she was perfectly well. 

" Then her mental powers, hitherto stinted in their growth, 
rapidly developed themselves ; and during the four months of 
health which she enjoyed, she appears (making due allowance 
for a fond mother's account) to have displayed a considerable 
degree of intelligence. 

" But suddenly she sickened again ; her disease raged with 
great violence during five weeks, when her eyes and ears were 
inflamed, suppurated, and their contents were discharged. But 
though sight and hearing were gone for ever, the poor child's 
sufferings were not ended. The fever raged during seven 
weeks ; for five months she was kept in bed in a darkened 
room ; it was a year before she could walk unsupported, and 
two years before she could sit up all day. It was now observed 
that her sense of smell was almost entirely destroyed ; and, 
consequently, that her taste was much blunted. 

" It was not until four years of age that the poor child's 
bodily health seemed restored, and she was able to enter upon 
her apprenticeship of life and the world. 

" But what a situation was hers ! The darkness and the 



3§ AMERICAN KOTES 

silence of the tomb were around her : no mother's smile called 
forth her answering smile, no father's voice taught her to 
imitate his sounds : — they, brothers and sisters, were but forms 
of matter which resisted her touch, but which differed not from 
the furniture of the house, save in warmth, and in the pdwer of 
locomotion ; and not even in these respects from the dbg and 
the cat. '' 

"But the immortal spirit which had been implanted within 
her could not die, nor be maimed nor mutilated ; and though 
most of its avenues of communication with'tlie world were cut 
off, it began to manifest itself through the others.' - As soon as 
she could walk, she began to explore the room, 1 and then the 
house ; "she became familiar with" the form," density; weighT," : arid 
heat of every article she could lay her hands upon. She 
followed her mother, and felt her hands and arms; as she was 
occupied about the house ; and her disposition to imitate, led 
her to repeat everything herself. She even learned to sew a 
little, and to knit." 

The reader will scarcely need to be told, however, that the 
opportunities of communicating with her. were very, very 
limited ; and that the moral effects of her wretched state soon 
began to appear. Those who cannot be enlightened by reason 
can only be controlled by force ; and this, coupled with her 
great privations, must soon have' reduced her to a worse con- 
dition than that of the beasts that perish, but for timely arid 
unhoped-for aid. '■■' 

" At this time I was so fortunate as to hear of the child, and 
immediately hastened to Hanover to see herf I found her with 
a well-formed figure ; a strongly-marked, nervous-sanguine tem- 
perament ; a large and beautifully-shaped head ; and the whole 
system in healthy action. The parents were easily induced to 
consent to her coming to Boston,' and on the 4th of October, 
1837, they brought her to the Institution. r t 

"For awhile she was much bewildered ; arid after waitiriar 
about two weeks, until she became acquainted with her new 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 39 

locality, and somewhat familiar with the inmates, the attempt 
was made to give her knowledge of arbitrary signs, by which 
she could interchange thoughts with others. 

" There was one of two ways to be adopted : either to go on 
to build up a language of signs on the basis of the natural 
language which she had already commenced herself, or to teach 
her the purely arbitrary language in common use : that is, to 
give her a sign for every individual thing, or to give her a know- 
ledge of letters" by combination of which she might express her 
idea of the existence, and the mode and condition of existence, 
of any thing. The former would have been easy, but very 
ineffectual ; the latter seemed very difficult, but, if accomplished, 
very effectual. I determined,' therefore, to try the latter. 

" The first experiments were made by taking articles in com- 
mon use, such as knives, forks, spoons, keys, &c, and pasting 
upon them labels with their names printed in raised letters. 
These she felt very carefully, and soon, of course, distinguished 
that the crooked lines spoon differed as much from the crooked 
lines hey, as the spoon differed from the key in form. 

" Then small detached labels, with the same words printed 
upon them, were put into her hands ; and she soon observed 
that they were similar to the ones pasted on the articles. She 
showed her perception of this similarity by laying the label key 
upon the key, and the label spoon upon the spoon. She was 
encouraged here by the natural sign of approbation, patting on 
the head. 

" The same process was then repeated with all the articles 
which she could handle : and she very easily learned to place 
the proper labels upon them. It was evident, however, that the 
only intellectual exercise was that of imitation and memory. 
She recollected that the label ho oh was placed upon a book, and 
she repeated the process first from imitation, next from memory, 
with only the motive of love of approbation, but apparently 
without the intellectual perception of any relation between the 
things. 



40 American notes 

" After awhile, instead of labels, the individual letters were 
given to her on detached bits of paper : they were arranged side 
by side so as to spell book, key, &c. ; then they were mixed up 
in a heap, and a sign was made for her to arrange them herself, 
so as to express the words book, key, &c. ; and she did so. 

" Hitherto the process had been mechanical, and the success 
about as great as teaching a very knowing dog a variety of tricks. 
The poor child had sat in mute amazement, and patiently 
imitated everything her teacher did ; but now the truth began 
to flash upon her : her intellect began to work : she perceived 
that here was a way by which she could herself make up a sign 
of anything that was in her own mind, and show it. to another 
mind ; and at once her countenance lighted up with a human 
expression : it was no longer a dog, or parrot : it was an 
immortal spirit, eagerly seizing upon a new link of union with 
other spirits ! I could almost fix upon the moment when this 
truth dawned upon her mind, and spread its light to her counte- 
nance ; I saw that the great obstacle was overcome ; and that 
henceforward nothing but patient and persevering, but plain 
and straightforward, efforts were to be used. 

" The result, thus far, is quickly related, and easily conceived ; 
but not so was the process ; for many weeks of apparently 
unprofitable labour were passed before it was effected. 

"When it was said above, that a sign was made, it was 
intended to say that the action was performed by her teacher, 
she feeling his hands, and then imitating the motion. 

" The next step was to procure a set of metal types, with the 
different letters of the alphabet cast upon their ends ; also a 
board, in which were square holes, into which holes she could 
set the types ; so that the letters on their ends could alone be 
felt above the surface. 

" Then, on any article being handed to her, — for instance, a 
pencil, or a watch, — she would select the component letters, 
and arrange them on her board, and read them with apparent 
pleasure. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 41 

" She was exercised for several weeks in this way, until her 
vocabulary became extensive ; and then the important step was 
taken of teaching her how to represent the different letters by 
the position of her fingers, instead of the cumbrous apparatus of 
the board and types. She accomplished this speedily and easily, 
for her intellect had begun to work in aid of her teacher, and 
her progress was rapid. 

" This was the period, about three months after she had com- 
menced, that the first report of her case was made, in which it 
is stated that ' she has just learned the manual alphabet, as used 
by the deaf mutes, and it is a subject of delight and wonder to 
see how rapidly, correctly, and eagerly she goes on with her 
labours. Her teacher gives her a new object, — for instance, a 
pencil, — first lets her examine it, and get an idea of its use, then 
teaches her how to spell it by making the signs for the letters 
with her own fingers : the child grasps her hand, and feels her 
fingers, as the different letters are formed ; she turns her head a 
little on one side, like a person listening closely ; her lips are 
apart ; she seems scarcely to breathe ; and her countenance, at 
first anxious, gradually changes to a smile, as she comprehends 
the lesson. She then holds up her tiny fingers, and spells the 
word in the manual alphabet ; next, she takes her types and 
arranges her letters ; and last, to make sure that she is right, she 
takes the whole of the types composing the word, and places 
them upon or in contact with the pencil, or whatever the object 
may be.' 

" The whole of the succeeding year was passed in gratifying 
her eager inquiries for the names of every object which she 
could possibly handle ; in exercising her in the use of the 
manual alphabet ; in extending in every possible way her know- 
ledge of the physical relations of things ; and in proper care of 
her health. 

" At the end of the year a report of her case was made, from 
which the following is an extract. 

" ' It has been ascertained, beyond the possibility of doubt, 



42 .AMERICAN NOTES 

that she cannot see a ray of light, cannot hear the least sound, 
and never exercises her sense of smell, if she have any. Thus 
her mind dwells in darkness 'and stillness, as profound as that 
of a closed tomb at midnight. Of beautiful sights, and sweet 
sounds, and pleasant odours she has no conception ; never- 
theless, she seems as happy and playful as a bird or a lamb ; 
and the employment of her intellectual faculties, or the acquire- 
ment of a new idea, gives her a vivid pleasure, which is plainly 
marked in her expressive features." She never seems to repine, 
but has all the buoyancy and gaiety of childhood. She is fond 
of fun and frolic, arid, when playing with the rest of the children, 
her shrill laugh sounds loudest of the group. 

"'When left alone, she seems very happy if she have her 
knitting or sewing, and will busy herself for hours : if she have 
rio occupation, she evidently amuses herself by imaginary dia- 
logues, or by recalling past impressions ; she counts with her 
fingers, or spells out names of things which she has recently 
learned, in the manual alphabet of the deaf mutes. In this 
lonely self-communion she seems to reason, reflect, and argue : 
if she spell a word wrong, with the fingers of her right hand, she 
instantly strikes it with her left, as her teacher does, in sign of 
disapprobation ; if right, then she pats herself upon the head 
and looks pleased. She sometimes purposely spells a word 
wrong with the left hand, looks roguish for a moment and 
laughs, and then with the right hand strikes the left, as if to 
correct it. 

" 'During the year she has attained great dexterity in the 
use of the manual alphabet of the deaf mutes ; and she spells 
out the words and sentences which she' knows, so fast and so 
deftly, that only those accustomed to this language can follow 
with the eye the rapid motions of her fingers. 

" ' But wonderful as is the rapidity with which she writes her 
thoughts upon the air, still more so is the ease arid accuracy 
■with which she reads the words thus written by another ; grasp- 
ing their hands in hers, and following every movement of their 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 43 

fingers, as letter after letter conveys their meaning to her mind. 
It is in this way that she converses with her blind playmates, 
and nothing can more forcibly show the power of mind in forcing 
matter to its purpose than a meeting between them. For" if 
great talent and skill are necessary for two pantomimes to paint 
their thoughts and feelings by the movements of the body, and 
the expression of the countenance, how much greater the diffi- 
culty when darkness shrouds them both, and the one can hear 
no sound! 

" 'When Laura is walking through a passage-way, with her 
hands spread before her, she knows instantly every one she 
meets, and passes them with a sign of recognition : but if it be 
a girl of 'her own age; and especially if it be one of her "favourites, 
there is instantly a'bright smile (if recognition, and'a'twining'Txf 
arms; a grasping of hands, '-and a swift telegraphing. uporp* the 
tiny : fingers ; whose rapid evolutions convey the thoughts' and 
feelings from the outposts of one mind to those of the other. 
There are questions and answers, exchanges of joy or sorrow* 
there are kissings and partings, just as between little children 
with all their senses.' 

"During this year, and six months after she had left home, 
Her mother came to visit her, and the scene of their meeting was 
an interesting one. 

" The mother stood some time, gazing with overflowing eyes 
upon her unfortunate child, who, all unconscious of her presence, 
was playing about the room. Presently Laura ran against her, 
and at once began feeling her hands, examining her dress, and 
trying to find but if she knew her; but not succeeding in" this, 
she turned away as from a stranger, and the poor woman' could 
not conceal the pang" she felt at finding that her beloved child 
did nSt know her.' r - T " - ' = 

"She then gave LaureFa string of beads which -she used to 
wear at home, which were recognised by the child at once, who, 
with much joy," put 7 ' them^around" her "neck, and -sought me 
eagerly to "say she"underst66d the string was from her home. 



44 American notes 

" The mother now tried to caress her, but poor Laura repelled 
her, preferring to be with her acquaintances. 

"Another article from home was now given her, and she 
began to look much interested ; she examined the stranger much 
closer, and gave me to understand that she knew she came from 
Hanover ; she even endured her caresses, but would leave her 
with indifference at the slightest signal. The distress of the 
mother was now painful to behold ; for, although she had feared 
that she should not be recognised, the painful reality of being 
treated with cold indifference by a darling child was too much 
for woman's nature to bear. 

"After awhile, on the mother taking hold of her again, a 
vague idea seemed to flit across Laura's mind that this could 
not be a stranger ; she therefore felt her hands very eagerly, 
while her countenance assumed an expression of intense interest ; 
she became very pale, and then suddenly red ; hope seemed 
struggling with doubt and anxiety, and never were contending 
emotions more strongly painted upon the human face : at this 
moment of painful uncertainty, the mother drew her close to 
her side, and kissed her fondly, when at once the truth flashed 
upon the child, and all mistrust and anxiety disappeared from 
her face, as with an expression of exceeding joy she eagerly 
nestled to the bosom of her parent, and yielded herself to her 
fond embraces. 

"After this the beads were all unheeded; the playthings 
which were offered to her were utterly disregarded ; her play- 
mates, for whom but a moment before she gladly left the 
stranger, now vainly strove to pull her from her mother ; and 
though she yielded her usual instantaneous obedience to my 
signal to follow me, it was evidently with painful reluctance. 
She clung close to me, as if bewildered and fearful ; and when, 
after a moment, I took her to her mother, she sprang to her 
arms, and clung to her with eager joy. 

"The subsequent parting between them showed alike the 
affection, the intelligence, and the resolution of the child. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 45 

- "Laura accompanied her mother to the door, clinging close 
to her all the way, until they arrived at the threshold, where, 
she paused, and. felt around to ascertain who was near her. 
Perceiving the matron, of whom she is very fond, she grasped 
her with one hand, holding on convulsively to her mother with 
the other ; and thus she stood for a moment : then she dropped 
her mother's hand; put her handkerchief to her eyes; and 
turning round, clung sobbing to the matron ; while her mother 

departed, with emotions as deep as those of her child. 

****** 

" It has been remarked, in former reports, that she can dis- 
tinguish different degrees of intellect in others, and that she 
soon regarded almost with contempt a new-comer, when, after a 
few days, she discovered her weakness of mind. This unamiable 
part of her character has been more strongly developed during 
the past year. 

" She chooses for her friends and companions those children 
who are intelligent, and can talk best with her ; and she 
evidently dislikes to be with those who are deficient in intellect, 
unless, indeed, she can make them serve her purposes, which 
she is evidently inclined to do. She takes advantage of them, 
and makes them wait upon her, in a manner that she knows she 
could not exact of others ; and in various ways she shows her 
Saxon blood. 

" She is fond of having other children noticed and caressed 
by the teachers, and those whom she respects ; but this must not 
be carried too far, or she becomes jealous. She wants to have 
her share, which, if not the lion's, is the greater part ; and if she 
does not get it, she says, 'My mother will love me.' 

" Her tendency to imitation is so strong, that it leads her to 
actions which must be entirely incomprehensible to her, and 
which can give her no other pleasure than the gratification of 
an internal faculty. She has been known to sit for half an hour, 
holding a book before her sightless eyes, and moving her lips, as 
she has observed seeing people do when reading. 



46 AMERICAN NOTES 

"She one day pretended that her doll was sick; and went 
through all the motions of tending it, and giving it medicine ; 
she then put it carefully to bed, and placed a bottle of hot water 
to its feet, laughing all the. time most heartily. When I came 
home, she insisted upon my going to see it, and feel its pulse ; 
and when I told her to put a blister on its back, she seemed to 
enjoy it amazingly, and almost screamed with delight. , 

" Her social feelings, and her affections, are very strong ; and 
when she is sitting at work, or at her studies, by the side of one 
of her little friends, she will break off from her task, every few 
moments, to hug and kiss them with an earnestness and warmth 
that is touching to behold. 

" When left alone, she occupies, and apparently amuses her- 
self, and seems quite contented ; and so strong seems to be the 
natural tendency of thought to put on the garb of language, that 
she often soliloquises in the finger language, slow and tedious 
as it is. But it is only when alone that she is quiet : for if she 
becomes sensible of the presence of any one near her, she is 
restless until she can sit close beside them, hold their hand, and 
converse with them by signs. 

" In. he,r intellectual character it is pleasing to observe an 
insatiable thirst for knowledge, and a quick perception of the 
relations of things. In her moral character, it is beautiful to 
behold her continual gladness, her keen enjoyment of existence, 
her expansive love, her unhesitating confidence, her sympathy 
with suffering, her conscientiousness, truthfulness, and hope- 
fulness." 

Such are a few fragments from the simple but most inter- 
esting and instructive history of Laura Bridgman. The name 
of her great benefactor and friend, who writes it, is Doctor 
Howe. There are not many persons, I hope and believe, who, 
after reading these passages, can ever hear that name with 
indifference. 

A further account has been published by Doctor Howe, since 
the report from which I have just quoted. It describes her 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 47 

rapid mental growth and improvement during twelve months 
more, and brings her little history down to the end of last year. 
It is very remarkable that as we dream in words, and carry on 
imaginary conversations, in which we speak both for ourselves 
and for the shadows who appear to us in those visions of the 
night, so she, having no words, uses her finger alphabet in her 
sleep. And it has been ascertained that when her slumber is 
broken, and is much disturbed by dreams, she expresses her 
thoughts in an irregular and confused manner on her fingers : 
just as we should murmur and mutter them indistinctly in the 
like circumstances. 

I turned over the leaves of her Diary, and found it written in 
a fair, legible, square hand, and expressed in terms which were 
quite intelligible without any explanation. On my saying that 
I should like to see her write again, the teacher who sat beside 
her bade her, in their language, sign her name upon a slip of 
paper twice or thrice. In doing so, I observed that she kept 
her left hand always touching and following up her right, in 
which, of course, she held the pen. No line was indicated by 
any contrivance, but she wrote straight and freely. 

She had, until now, been quite unconscious of the presence of 
visitors ; but, having her hand placed in that of the gentleman 
who accompanied me, she immediately expressed his name upon 
her teacher's palm. Indeed, her sense of touch is now so 
exquisite, that having been acquainted with a person once, she 
can recognise him or her after almost any interval. This gen- 
tleman had been in her company, I believe, but very seldom, 
and certainly had not seen her for many months. My hand 
she rejected at once, as she does that of any man who is a 
stranger to her. But she retained my wife's with evident 
pleasure, kissed her, and examined her dress with a girl's curi- 
osity and interest. 

She was merry and cheerful, and showed much innocent 
playfulness in her intercourse with her teacher. Her delight on 
recognising a favourite playfellow and companion — herself a 



48 AMERICAN NOTES 

blind girl — who silently, and with an equal enjoyment of the 
coming surprise, took a seat beside her, was beautiful to witness. 
It elicited from her at first, as other slight circumstances did 
twice or thrice during my visit, an uncouth noise which was 
rather painful to hear. But, on her teacher touching her lips, 
she immediately desisted, and embraced her laughingly and 
affectionately. 

I had previously been into another chamber, where a number 
of blind boys were swinging, and climbing, and engaged in 
various sports. They all clamoured, as we entered, to the 
assistant master, who accompanied us, " Look at me, Mr. Hart ! 
Please, Mr. Hart, look at me ! " evincing, I thought, even in this, 
an anxiety peculiar to their condition, that their little feats of 
agility should be seen. Among them was a small laughing 
fellow, who stood aloof, entertaining himself with a gymnastic 
exercise for bringing the arms and chest into play ; which he 
enjoyed mightily ; especially when, in thrusting out his right 
arm, he brought it into contact with another boy. Like Laura 
Bridgman, this young child was deaf, and dumb, and blind. 

Doctor Howe's account of this pupil's first instruction is so 
very striking, and so intimately connected with Laura herself, 
that I cannot refrain from a short extract. I may premise that 
the poor boy's name is Oliver Caswell ; that he is thirteen years 
of age ; and that he was in full possession of all his faculties 
until three years and four months old. He was then attacked 
by scarlet fever : in four weeks became deaf ; in a few weeks 
more, blind ; in six months, dumb. He showed his anxious 
sense of this last deprivation by often feeling the lips of other 
persons when they were talking, and then putting his hand upon 
his own, as if to assure himself that he had them in the right 
position. 

"His thirst for knowledge," says Doctor Howe, "proclaimed 
itself as soon as he entered the house, by his eager examination 
of everything he could feel or smell in his new location. For 
instance, treading upon the register of a furnace, he instantly 



tOll dtiiNEltAL CIRCULATION. 49 

stooped down and began to feel it, and soon discovered the way 
in which the upper plate moved upon the lower one ; but this 
was not enough for him, so, lying down upon his face, he.applied 
his tongue first to one, then to the other, and seemed to discover 
that they were of different kinds of metal. 

" His signs were expressive : and the strictly natural lan- 
guage, laughing, crying, sighing, kissing, embracing, &c, was 
perfect. 

" Some of the analogical signs which (guided by his faculty 
of imitation) he had contrived, were comprehensible ; such as 
the waving motion of his hand for the motion of a boat, the 
circular one for a wheel, &c. 

" The first object was to break up the use of these signs, and 
to substitute for them the use of purely arbitrary ones. 

" Profiting by the experience I had gained in the other cases, 
I omitted several steps of the process before employed, and 
commenced at once with the finger language. Taking, there- 
fore, several articles having short names, such as key, cup, mug, 
&c, and with Laura for an auxiliary, I sat down, and taking his 
hand, placed it upon one of them, and then with my own made 
the letters h e y. He felt my hands eagerly with both of his, 
and, on my repeating the process, he evidently tried to imitate 
the motions of my fingers. In a few minutes he contrived to 
feel the motions of my fingers with one hand, and holding out 
the other, he tried to imitate . them, laughing most heartily when 
he succeeded. Laura was by, interested even to agitation ; and 
the two presented a singular sight : her face was flushed and 
anxious, and her fingers twined in among ours so closely as to 
follow every motion, but so lightly as not to embarrass them ; 
while Oliver stood attentive, his head a little aside, his face 
turned up, his left hand grasping mine, and his right held out ; 
at every motion of my fingers his countenance betokened keen 
attention ; there was an expression of anxiety as he tried to 
imitate the motions ; then a smile came stealing out as he 
thought he could do so, and spread into a joyous laugh the 

E 



50 AMERICAN NOTES 

moment he succeeded, and felt me pat his head, and Laura 
clap him heartily upon the back, and jump up and down in 
her joy. 

"He learned more than a half-dozen letters in half an hour, 
and seemed delighted with his success, at least in gaining appro- 
bation. His attention then began to flag, and I commenced 
playing with him. It was evident that in all this he had 
merely been imitating the motions of my fingers, and placing 
his hand upon the key, cup, &c, as part of the process, without 
any perception of the relation between the sign and the object. 

" When he was tired with play I took him back to the table, 
and he was quite ready to begin again his process of imitation. 
He soon learned to make the letters for key, pen, pin ; and, by 
having the object repeatedly placed in his hand, he at last 
perceived the relation I wished to establish between them. This 
was evident, because, when I made the letters p % n, or p e n, or 
cup, he would select the article. 

" The perception of this relation was not accompanied by 
that radiant flash of intelligence, and that glow of joy, which 
marked the delightful moment when Laura first perceived it. ' I 
then placed all the articles on the table, and going away a little 
distance with the children, placed Oliver's fingers in the positions 
to spell hey, on which Laura went and brought the article : the 
little fellow seemed to be much amused by this, and looked very 
attentive and smiling. I then caused him to make the letters 
bread, and in an instant Laura went and brought him a piece ; 
he smelled at it ; put it to his lips ; cocked up his head with a 
most knowing look ; seemed to reflect a moment ; and then 
laughed outright, as much as to say, ' Aha ! I understand now 
how something may be made out of this.' 

" It Avas now clear that he had the capacity and inclination 
to learn, that he was a proper subject for instruction, and needed 
only persevering attention. I therefore put him in the hands of 
an intelligent teacher, nothing doubting of his rapid progress;" ■ 

Well may this gentleman call that a delightful moment, in 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 51 

which some distant promise of her present state first gleamed 
upon the darkened mind of Laura Bridgman. Throughout his 
life, the recollection of that moment will be to him a source of 
pure, unfading happiness ; nor will it shine least brightly on the 
evening of his days of Noble Usefulness. 

The affection that exists between these two — the master and 
the pupil — is as far removed from all ordinary care and regard, 
as the circumstances in which it has had its growth are apart from 
the common occurrences of life. He is occupied now in devising 
means of imparting to her higher knowledge, and of conveying 
to her some adequate idea of the Great Creator of that universe 
in which, dark and silent and scentless though it be to her, she 
has such deep delight and glad enjoyment. 

Ye who have eyes and see not, and have ears and hear not ; 
ye who are as the hypocrites of sad countenances, and disfigure 
your faces that ye may seem unto men to fast ; learn healthy 
cheerfulness, and mild contentment, from the deaf, and dumb, 
and blind ! Self-elected saints with gloomy brows, this sight- 
less, earless, voiceless child may teach you lessons you will do 
Avell to follow. Let that poor hand of hers lie gently on your 
hearts ; for there may be something in its healing touch akin t<* 
that of the Great Master whose precepts you misconstrue, whose 
lessons you pervert, of whose charity and sympathy with all the 
world not one among you, in his daily practice, knows as much 
as many of the worst among those fallen sinners, to whom you 
are liberal in nothing but the preachment of perdition ! 

As I rose to quit the room, a pretty little child of one of the 
attendants came running in to greet its father. For the moment, 
a child with eyes among the sightless crowd impressed me almost 
as painfully as the blind boy in the porch had done, two hours 
ago. Ah ! how much brighter and more deeply blue, glowing 
and rich though it had been before, was the scene without, con- 
trasting with the darkness of so many youthful lives within! 



£2 



52 AMERICAN NOTES 

At South Boston, as it is called, in a situation excellently 
adapted for the purpose, several charitable institutions are clus- 
tered together. One of these is the State Hospital for the 
insane ; admirably conducted on those enlightened principles of 
conciliation and kindness, which twenty years ago would have 
been worse than heretical, and which have been acted upon with 
so much success in our own pauper asylum at Hanwell. " Evince 
a desire to show some confidence, and repose some trust, even 
in mad people," said the resident physician, as we walked along 
the galleries, his patients flocking round us unrestrained. Of 
those who deny or doubt the wisdom of this maxim after witness- 
ing its effects, if there be such people still alive, I can only say 
that I hope I may never be summoned as a Juryman on a Com- 
mission of Lunacy whereof they are the subjects ; for I should 
certainly find them out of their senses, on such evidence alone. 

Each ward in this institution is shaped like a long gallery or 
hall, with the dormitories of the patients opening from it on 
either hand. Here they work, read, play at skittles, and other 
games ; and, when the weather does not admit of their taking 
exercise out of doors, pass the day together. In one of these 
rooms, seated calmly, and quite as a matter of course, among a 
throng of madwomen, black and white, were the physician's 
wife and another lady, with a couple of children. These ladies 
were graceful and handsome ; and it was not difficult to per- 
ceive, at a glance, that even their presence there had a highly 
beneficial influence on the patients who were grouped about them. 

Leaning her head against the chimney-piece, with a great 
assumption of dignity and refinement of manner, sat an elderly 
female, in as many scraps of finery as Madge Wildfire herself. 
Her head in particular was so strewn with scraps of gauze and 
cotton and bits of paper, and had so many queer odds and ends 
stuck all about it, that it looked like a bird's nest. She was 
radiant with imaginary jewels ; wore a rich pair of undoubted 
gold spectacles ; and gracefully dropped upon her lap, as we 
approached, a very old, greasy newspaper, in which I dare say 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 53 

she had been reading an account of her own presentation at 
some Foreign Court. 

I have been thus particular in describing her, because she 
will serve to exemplify the physician's manner of acquiring and 
retaining the confidence of his patients. 

"This," he said aloud, taking me by the hand, and advancing 
to the fantastic figure with great politeness — not raising her 
suspicions by the slightest look or whisper, or any kind of 
aside, to me : " this lady is the hostess of this mansion, sir. 
It belongs to her. Nobody else has anything whatever to do 
with it. It is a large establishment, as you see, and requires a 
great number of attendants. She lives, you observe, in the 
very first style. She is kind enough to receive my visits, and 
to permit my wife and family to reside here; for which, it is 
hardly necessary to say, we are much indebted to her. She is 
exceedingly courteous, you perceive," — on this hint she bowed 
condescendingly, — " and will permit me to have the pleasure of 
introducing you : a gentleman from England, ma'am : newly 
arrived from England, after a very tempestuous passage : Mr. 
Dickens — the lady of the house !" 

We exchanged the most dignified salutations with profound 
gravity and respect, and so went on. The rest of the mad- 
women seemed to understand the joke perfectly (not only in 
this case, but in all the others, except their own), and to be 
highly amused by it. The nature of their several kinds of 
insanity was made known to me in the same way, and we left 
each of them in high good-humour. Not only is a thorough 
confidence established, by these means, between physician and 
patient, in respect of the nature and extent of their hallucina- 
tions, but it is easy to understand that opportunities are afforded 
for seizing any moment of reason, to startle them by placing 
their own delusion before them in its most incongruous and 
ridiculous light. 

Every patient in this asylum sits down to dinner every day 
with a knife and fork ; and in the midst of them sits the gentle- 



54 AMERICAN NOTES 

man, whose manner of dealing with his charges I have just 
described. At every meal, moral influence alone restrains . the 
more violent among them from cutting the throats of the rest ; 
\ but the effect of that influence is reduced to an absolute cer- 
tainty, and is found, even as a means of restraint, to say nothing 
1 of it as a means of cure, a hundred times more efficacious than 
jail the strait-waistcoats, fetters, and handcuffs that ignorance, 
(prejudice, and cruelty have manufactured since the creation of 
the world. 

In the labour department, every patient is as freely trusted with 
the tools of his trade as if he were a sane man. ' In the garden, 
and on the farm, they work with spades, rakes, and hoes. For 
amusement, they walk, run, fish, paint, read, and ride out to 
take the air in carriages provided for the purpose. They have 
among themselves a sewing society to make clothes for the poor, 
which holds meetings, passes resolutions, never comes to fisti- 
cuffs or bowie-knives, as sane assemblies have been known to 
do elsewhere ; and conducts all its proceedings with the greatest 
decorum. The irritability, which would otherwise be expended 
on their own flesh, clothes, and furniture, is dissipated in these 
pursuits. They are cheerful, tranquil, and healthy. 

Once a week they have a ball, in which the Doctor and his 
family, with all the nurses and attendants, take an active. part. 
Dances and marches are performed alternately, to the enlivening 
strains of a piano ; and now and then some gentleman or lady 
(whose proficiency has been previously ascertained) obliges the 
company with a song ; nor does it . ever degenerate, at a tender 
crisis, into a screech or a howl; wherein, I must confess,! should 
have thought the danger lay. At an early hour they all meet 
together for these festive purposes ; at eight o'clock refresh- 
ments are served ; and at nine they separate. 
> Immense politeness and good-breeding are observed through- 
: out. They all take their tone from the Doctor ; and he moves 
a very Chesterfield among the companyr Like other assemblies, 
these entertainments afford a fruitful topic of conversation among 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 55 

the ladies for some days ; and the gentlemen are so anxious to 
shine on these occasions, that they have been sometimes found 
" practising their steps " in private, to cut a more distinguished 
figure in the dance. 

It is obvious that one great feature of this system is the 
inculcation and encouragement, even among such unhappy per- 
sons, of a decent self-respect. Something of the same spirit 
pervades all the Institutions at South Boston. 

There is the House of Industry. In that branch of it -which 
is devoted to the reception of old or otherwise helpless paupers, 
these words are painted on the walls : " Worthy of Notice. 
Self-Government, Quietude, and Peace are Blessings." It 
is not assumed and taken for gran ted that, being there, they 
must be evilrdisposed and wicked people, before whose vicious 
eyes it . is necessary to flourish threats and harsh restraints. They 
are met at the very threshold with this mild appeal. All within 
doors is very plain and simple, as it ought to be, but arranged 
with a view to peace and comfort. It costs no more than any 
other plan of arrangement, but it bespeaks an amount of con- 
sideration for those who are reduced to seek a shelter there, 
which puts them at once upon their gratitude and good beha- 
viour. Instead of being parcelled out in great, long, rambling 
wards, where a certain amount of weazen life may mope, and 
pine, and shiver .all day long, the building is divided into 
separate rooms, each with its share of light and air. In these 
the' better kind of paupers live. They have a motive for exer- 
tion and becoming pride, in the desire to make these little 
chambers comfortable and decent. I do not remember one but 
it was clean and neat, and had its plant or two upon the window- 
sill, or row of crockery upon the shelf, or small display of 
coloured prints upon the whitewashed wall, or, perhaps, its 
wooden clock behind the door. 

The orphans and young children are in an adjoining building ;[ 
separate from this, but a part of the same Institution. Some 
arc such little creatures that the stairs are of Lilliputian measure- 



56 AMERICAN NOTES 

ment, fitted to their tiny strides. The same consideration for 
their years and weakness is expressed in their very seats, which 
are perfect curiosities, and look like articles of furniture for a 
pauper doll's house. I can imagine the glee of our Poor-Law 
Commissioners at the notion of these seats having arms and 
backs ; but small spines being of older date than their occupa- 
tion of the Board-room at Somerset House, I thought even this 
provision very merciful and kind. 

Here, again, I was greatly pleased with the inscriptions on the 
wall, which were scraps of plain morality, easily remembered 
and understood : such as " Love one another " — " God remem- 
bers the smallest creature in his creation : " and straightforward 
advice of that nature. The books and tasks of these smallest 
of scholars were adapted, in the same judicious manner, to their 
childish powers. When we had examined these lessons, four 
morsels of girls (of whom one was blind) sang a little song 
about the merry month of May, which I thought (being 
extremely dismal) would have suited an English November 
better. That done, we went to see their sleeping-rooms on the 
floor above, in which the arrangements were no less excellent 
and gentle than those we had seen below. And after observing 
that the teachers were of a class and character well suited to 
the spirit of the place, I took leave of the infants with a lighter 
heart than ever I have taken leave of pauper infants yet. 

Connected with the House of Industry, there is also a 
Hospital, which was in the best order, and had, I am glad to 
say, many beds unoccupied. It had one fault, however, which 
is common to all American interiors : the presence of the eternal, 
accursed, suffocating, red-hot demon of a stove, whose breath 
would blight the purest air under Heaven. 

There are two establishments for boys in this same neigh- 
bourhood. One is called the Boylston School, and is an 
asylum for neglected and indigent boys who have committed no 
crime, but who, in the ordinary course of things, would very 
soon be purged of that distinction if they were not taken from 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 57 

the hungry streets and sent here. The other is a House of 
Reformation for Juvenile Offenders. They are both under the 
same roof, but the two classes of boys never come in contact. 

The Boylston boys, as may be readily supposed, have very much 
the advantage of the others in point of personal appearance. 
They were in their schoolroom when I came upon them, and 
answered correctly, without book, such questions as where was 
England ; how far was it ; what was its population ; its capital 
city ; its form of government; and so forth. They sang a song, 
too, about a farmer sowing his seed : with corresponding action 
at such parts as " 'tis thus he sows," " he turns him round," 
" he claps his hands ; " which gave it greater interest for them, 
and accustomed them to act together in an orderly manner. 
They appeared exceedingly well taught, and not better taught 
than fed; for a more chubby-looking, full-waistcoated set of 
boys I never saw. 

The juvenile offenders had not such pleasant faces by a great 
deal, and in this establishment there were many boys of colour. 
I saw them first at their work (basket-making, and the manu- 
facture of palm-leaf hats), afterwards in their school, where they 
sang a chorus in praise of Liberty : an odd, and, one would 
think, rather aggravating, theme for prisoners. These boys 
were divided into four classes, each denoted by a numeral, worn 
on a badge upon the arm. On the arrival of a new-comer, he 
is put into the fourth or lowest class, and left, by good behaviour, 
to work his way up into the first. The design and object of 
this Institution is to reclaim the youthful criminal by firm, but 
kind and judicious, treatment ; to make his prison a place of 
purification and improvement, not of demoralisation and cor- 
ruption ; to impress upon him that there is but one path, and 
that one sober industry, which can ever lead him to happiness ; 
to teach him how it may be trodden, if his footsteps have never 
yet been led that way ; and to lure him back to it, if they have 
strayed : in a word, to snatch him from destruction, and restore 
him to society a penitent and useful member, The importance 



§8 AMERICAN NOTES 

of^suchan establishment, in every point of view, and with 
reference to every consideration of humanity and jiociaj^oh^cj, 
requires no comment. ~ 

*~ One other establishment closes the catalogue. It is the House 
of Correction for the State, in which silence is strictly main- 
tained, but where the prisoners have the comfort and mental 
relief of seeing each other, and of working together. This is 
the improved system of Prison Discipline which we have 
imported into England, and which has been in successful opera- 
tion among us for some years past. 

America, as a new and not over-populated country, has in all 
her prisons the one great advantage of being enabled to find 
useful and profitable work for the inmates : whereas, with us, 
the prejudice against prison labour is naturally very strong, and 
almost insurmountable, when honest men, who have, not offended 
against the laws, are frequently doomed to seek employment in 
vain. Even in the United States, the principle of bringing 
convict labour and free labour into a competition which must 
obviously be to the disadvantage of the latter, has already found 
many opponents, whose number is not likely to diminish with 
access of years. 

For this very reason, though, our best prisons would seem at 
the first glance to be better conducted than those of America. 
The treadmill is accompanied with little or no noise ; five 
hundred men may pick oakum in the same room without a 
sound ; and both kinds of labour admit of such keen and vigi- 
lant superintendence, as will render even a word of personal 
communication among the prisoners almost impossible. On the 
other hand, the noise of the loom, the forge, the carpenter's 
hammer, or the stonemason's saw greatly favours those oppor- 
tunities of intercourse — hurried and brief,, no doubt, but 
opportunities still — which these several kinds of work, by ren- 
dering it necessary for men to be employed very near to each 
other, and often side by side, without any barrier or partition 
between them, in their very nature present. A visitor, too, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 59 

requires to reason and reflect a little, before the sight of a 
number of men engaged in ordinary labour, such as he is 
accustomed to out of doors, •will impress him half as strongly 
as the contemplation of the same persons in the same place and 
garb would, if they were occupied in some task, marked and 
degraded everywhere as belonging only to felons in gaols. In an 
American State prison, or house of correction, I found it difficult 
at first to persuade myself that I was really in a gaol : a place 
of ignominious punishment and endurance. And to this hour 
I very much question whether the humane boast, that it is not 
like one, has its root in the true wisdom or philosophy of. the 
matter. 

I hope I may not be misunderstood on this subject, for it is 
One in which I take a strong and deep interest. I incline as 
little to the sickly feeling which makes every canting lie or 
maudlin speech of a notorious criminal a subject of newspaper \ 
report and general sympathy, as I do to those good old customs j -- 
pf the good old times which made England, even so recently as 
in the reign of the Third King George, in respect of her criminal j 
code and her prison regulations, one of the most bloody-minded I 
.and barbarous countries on the earth. If I thought it would do 
any good to the rising generation, I would cheerfully give my 
consent to the disinterment of the bones of any genteel high- 
wayman (the more genteel, the more cheerfully), and to their 
exposure, piecemeal, on any sign-post, gate, or gibbet that might 
be deemed a good elevation for the purpose. My reason is as well 
convinced that these gentry were utterly worthless and debauched 
villains, as it is that the laws and gaols hardened them in their 
evil courses, or that their wonderful escapes were effected by the 
prison turnkeys who, in those admirable days, had always been 
felons themselves, and were, to the last, their bosom friends and 
pot companions. At the same time, I know, as all men do or 
should, that the subject of Prison Discipline is one of the 
highest importance to any community ; and that, in her sweep- 
ing reform and bright example to other countries on this head,. 



60 AMERICAN NOTES 

America has shown great wisdom, great benevolence, and exalted 
policy. In contrasting her system with that which we have 
modelled upon it, I merely seek to show that, with all its draw- 
backs, ours has some advantages of its own.* 

The House of Correction which has led to these remarks is 
not walled, like other prisons, but is palisaded round about with 
tall rough stakes, something after the manner of an enclosure 
for keeping elephants in, as we see it represented in Eastern 
prints and pictures. The prisoners wear a party-coloured dress ; 
and those who are sentenced to hard labour work at nail-making 
or stone-cutting. When I was there, the latter class of labourers 
were employed upon the stone for a new Custom House in 
course of erection at Boston. They appeared to shape it skil- 
fully and with expedition, though there were very few among 
them (if any) who had not acquired the art within the prison 
gates. 

The women, all in one large room, were employed in making 
light clothing for New Orleans and the Southern States. They 
did their work in silence, like the men ; and, like them, were 
overlooked by the person contracting for their labour, or by 
some agent of his appointment. In addition to this, they are 
every moment liable to be visited by the prison officers appointed 
for that purpose. 

The arrangements for cooking, washing of clothes, and so 
forth, are much upon the plan of those I have seen at home. 
Their mode of bestowing the prisoners at night (which is of 
general adoption) differs from ours, and is both simple and 

* Apart from profit made by the useful labour of prisoners, -which -we can never 
hope to realise to any great extent, and which it is perhaps not expedient for us to 
try to gain, there are two prisons in London, in all respects equal, and in some 
decidedly superior, to any I saw, cr have ever heard or read of, in America. One 
is the Tothill Fields Bridewell, conducted by Lieutenant A. F. Tracey, K.N. ; the 
other the Middlesex House of Correction, superintended by Mr. Chesterton. This 
gentleman also holds an appointment in the Public Service. Both are enlightened 
and superior men : and it would be as difficult to find persons better qualified for 
the functions they discharge with firmness, zeal, intelligence, and humanity, as it 
would be to exceed the perfect order and arrangement of the institutions they 
govern, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 6 1 

effective. In the centre of a lofty area, lighted by windows in 
the four walls, are five tiers of cells, one above the other ; each 
tier having before it a light iron gallery, attainable by stairs of 
the same construction and material ; excepting the lower one, 
which is on the ground. Behind these, back to back with them, 
and facing the opposite wall, are five corresponding rows of cells, 
accessible by similar means : so that, supposing the prisoners 
locked up in their cells, an officer stationed on the ground, with 
his back to the wall, has half their number under his eye at 
once ; the remaining half being equally under the observation 
of another officer on the opposite side ; and all in one great 
apartment. Unless this watch be corrupted or sleeping on his 
post, it is impossible for a man to escape ; for even in the event 
of his forcing the iron door of his cell without noise (which is 
exceedingly improbable), the moment he appears outside, and 
steps into that one of the five galleries on which it is situated, 
he must be plainly and fully visible to the officer below. Each 
of these cells holds a small truckle-bed, in which one prisoner 
sleeps ; never more. It is small, of course ; and the door being 
not solid, but grated, and without blind or curtain, the prisoner 
within is at all times exposed to the observation and inspection 
of any guard who may pass along that tier at any hour or 
minute of the night. Every day, the prisoners receive their 
dinner, singly, through a trap in the kitchen wall ; and each 
man carries his to his sleeping cell to eat it, where he is locked up 
alone, for that purpose, one hour. The whole of this arrange- 
ment struck me as being admirable ; and I hope that the next 
new prison we erect in England may be built on this plan. 

I was given to understand that in this prison no swords or 
fire-arms, or even cudgels, are kept ; nor is it probable that, so 
long as its present excellent management continues, any weapon, 
offensive or defensive, will ever be required within its bounds. 

Such are the Institutions at South Boston ! In all of them, 
the unfortunate or degenerate citizens of the State are carefully 
instructed in their duties both to God and man : are surrounded 



62 AMERICAN NOTES 

by all reasonable means of comfort and happiness that their con- 
dition will admit of ; are appealed to as members of the great 
human family, however afflicted, indigent, or fallen ; are ruled by 
the strong Heart, and not by the strong (though immeasurably 
weaker) Hand. I have described them at some length : firstly, 
because their worth demanded it ; and secondly, because I mean 
to take them for a model, and to content myself with saying 
of others we may come to, whose design and purpose are the 
same, that in this or that respect they practically fail, or differ.' 
I wish by this account of them, imperfect in its execution, 
but, in its just intention, honest, I could hope to convey to my 
readers one hundredth part of the gratification the sights I have 
described afforded me. 



To an Englishman, accustomed to the paraphernalia of West- 
minster Hall, an American Court of Law is as odd a sight as, I 
suppose, an English Court of Law would be to an American. 
Except in the Supreme Court at Washington (where the judges 
wear a plain black robe), there is no such thing as a wig or gown 
connected with the administration of justice. The gentlemen 
of the bar, being barristers and attorneys too (for there is no 
division of those functions as in England), are no more removed 
from their clients than attorneys in our Court for the Relief of 
Insolvent Debtors are from theirs. The jury are quite at home, 
and make themselves as comfortable as circumstances will permit; 
The witness is so little elevated above, or put aloof from, the 
crowd in the court, "that a stranger entering during a pause in 
the proceedings would find it difficult to pick him out from the 
rest. And if it chanced to be a criminal trial, his eyes, in nine 
cases out of ten, would wander to the dock in search of the 
prisoner in vain ; for that gentleman would most likely be 
lounging among the most distinguished ornaments of the legal 
profession, whispering suggestions in his counsel's ear, or making 
a toothpick out of an old quill with his penknife. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 63 

I could not but notice these differences when I visited the 
courts at Boston. I was much surprised at first, too, to observe 
that the counsel who interrogated the witness under examina- 
tion at the time did so sitting. But seeing that he was also 
occupied in writing down the answers, and remembering that he 
was alone, and had no "junior," I quickly consoled myself with 
the reflection that law was not quite so expensive an article here 
as at home ; and that the absence of sundry formalities, which we 
regard as indispensable, had doubtless a very favourable influence 
upon the bill ,of costs. 

In every court ample and commodious provision is made for 
the accommodation of the citizens. This is the case all through 
America. In every Public Institution, the right of the people 
to attend,, and to have an interest in the proceedings, is most 
fully and distinctly recognised. There are no grim door-keepers 
to dole out their tardy civility by the sixpennyworth ; nor is 
there, I sincerely believe, any insolence of office of any kind. 
Nothing national is exhibited for money ; and no public officer 
is a showman. We have begun, of late years, to imitate this 
good example. I hope we shall continue to do so ; and that, 
in the fulness of time, even deans and chapters may be con- 
verted. - 

In the civil court an action was trying for damages sustained 
in some accident upon a railway. The witnesses had been 
examined, and counsel was addressing the jury. The learned 
gentleman (like a few of his English brethren) was desperately 
long-winded, and had a remarkable capacity of saying the same 
thing over and over again. His great theme was " Warren the 
engine driver," whom he pressed into the service of every 
sentence he uttered. I listened to him for about a. quarter of 
an hour; and, coming put of court at the expiration of that 
time, without the faintest ray of enlightenment as to the merits 
of the case, felt as if I were at home again. 
• In the prisoners' cell, waiting to be examined by the magis- 
trate on a charge of theft, was a boy. This lad, instead of being 



64 AMERICAN NOtfES 

committed to a common gaol, would be sent to the asylum at 
South Boston, and there taught a trade ; and, in the course of 
time, he would be bound apprentice to some respectable master. 
Thus his detection in this offence, instead of being the prelude 
to a life of infamy and a miserable death, would lead, there was a 
reasonable hope, to his being reclaimed from vice, and becoming 
a worthy member of society. 

I am by no means a wholesale admirer of our legal solemni- 
ties, many of which impress me as being exceedingly ludicrous. 
Strange as it may seem, too, there is undoubtedly a degree of 
protection in the wig and gown — a dismissal of individual 
responsibility in dressing for the part — which encourages that 
insolent bearing and language, and that gross perversion of the 
office of a pleader for The Truth, so frequent in our courts of 
law. Still, I cannot help doubting whether America, in her 
desire to shake off the absurdities and abuses of the old system, 
may not have gone too far into the opposite extreme ; and 
whether it is not desirable, especially in the small community 
of a city like this, where each man knows the other, to surround 
the administration of justice with some artificial barriers against 
the " Hail fellow, well met" deportment of every-day life. All 
the aid it can have in the very high character and ability of the 
Bench, not only here, but elsewhere, it has, and well deserves to 
have ; but it may need something more : not to impress the 
thoughtful and the well informed, but, the ignorant and heed- 
less ; a class which includes some prisoners and many witnesses. 
These institutions were established, no doubt, upon the principle 
that those who had so large a share in making . the laws would 
certainly respect them. But experience has proved this hope 
to be fallacious ; for no men know better than the judges of 
America, that on the occasion of any great popular excitement 
the law is powerless, and cannot, for the time, assert its own 
supremacy. ( 

The tone of society in Boston is one of perfect politeness, 
courtesy, and good-breeding. The ladies are unquestionably 



for General circulation. 65 

Very beautiful — in face : but there I am compelled to stop. 
Their education is much as with us ; neither better nor worse. 
I had heard some very marvellous stories in this respect ; but 
not believing them, was not disappointed. Blue ladies there are 
in Boston ; but, like philosophers of that colour and sex in 
most other latitudes, they rather desire to be thought superior 
than to be so. Evangelical ladies there are, likewise, whose 
attachment to the forms of religion, and horror of theatrical 
entertainments, are most exemplary. Ladies who have a passion 
for attending lectures are to be found among all classes and all 
conditions. In the kind of provincial life Avhich prevails in 
cities such as this, the Pulpit has great influence. The peculiar 
province of the Pulpit in New England (always excepting the 
Unitarian ministry) would appear to be the denouncement of 
all innocent and rational amusements. The church, the chapel, 
and the lecture-room are the only means of excitement excepted ; 
and to the church, the chapel, and the lecture-room the ladies 
resort in crowds. 

Wherever religion is resorted to as a strong drink, and as an 
escape from the dull, monotonous round of home, those of its 
ministers who pepper the highest will be the surest to please. 
They who strew the Eternal Path with the greatest amount of 
brimstone, and who most ruthlessly tread down the flowers and 
leaves that grow by the wayside, will be voted the most 
righteous ; and they who enlarge with the greatest pertinacity 
on the difficulty of getting into heaven will be considered, by 
all true believers, certain of going there : though it would be 
hard to say by what process of reasoning this conclusion is 
arrived at. It is so at home, and it is so abroad. With regard 
to the other means of excitement, the Lecture, it has at least 
the merit of being always new. One lecture treads so quickly 
on the heels of another, that none are remembered ; and the 
course of this month may be safely repeated next, with its 
charm of novelty unbroken, and its interest unabated. 

The fruits of the oarth have their growth in corruption. Out 

F 



66 AMERICAN NOTES 

of the rottenness of these things there has sprung up in 
Boston a sect of philosophers known as Transcendentalists. On 
inquiring what this appellation might be supposed to signify, I 
was given to understand that whatever was unintelligible would 
be certainly transcendental. Not deriving much comfort from 
this elucidation, I pursued the inquiry still further, and found 
that the Transcendentalists are followers of my friend Mr. Carlyle, 
or I should rather say, of a follower of his, Mr. Ralph Waldo 
Emerson. This gentleman has written a volume of Essays, in 
which, among much that is dreamy and fanciful (if he will 
pardon me for saying so), there is much more that is true and 
manly, honest and bold. Transcendentalism has its occasional 
vagaries (what school has not?), but it has good healthful 
qualities in spite of them ; not least among the number a hearty 
disgust of Cant, and an aptitude to -detect: her in.ull thesmillion 
varieties of her everlasting wardrobe. - And therefore? if _ I were 
a Bostonian, I think I would be a Transcendentalism 

The only preacher I heard in Boston was Mr. Taylor, who 
addresses himself peculiarly to seamen, and who was once a 
mariner himself. I found his chapel down among the shipping, 
in one of the narrow, old, water-side streets, with a gay blue flag 
waving freely from its roof. In the gallery opposite to -the 
pulpit were a little choir of male and female singers, a violon- 
cello, and a violin. The preacher already sat in the pulpit, 
which ~was raised on pillars, and ornamented behind him "with 
painted drapery of a lively and somewhat theatrical appearance. 
He looked a weather-beaten, hard-featured man, of about six or 
eight and fifty ; with deep lines graven as it were into his face, 
dark hair, and a stern, keen eye. Yet the general character ;of 
his countenance was pleasant and agreeable. 

The service commenced with a hymn, to which succeeded an 
extemporary prayer. It had, the fault of frequent repetition, 
incidental to all such prayers; but it was plain and" compre- 
hensive in its doctrines, and breathed a tone of general sympathy 
and charity, which is not so commonly a characteristic of this 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 67 

form of address to the Deity as it might be. That done, he 
opened his discourse, taking for his text a passage from the 
Song of Solomon, laid upon the desk before the commencement 
of the service by some unknown member of the congregation : 
" Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on the 
arm of her beloved ?" 

He handled his text in all kinds of ways, and twisted it into 
all manner of shapes ; but always ingeniously, and with a rude 
eloquence, well adapted to the comprehension of his hearers. 
Indeed, if I be not mistaken, he studied their sympathies and 
understandings much more than the display of his own powers. 
His imagery was all drawn from the sea, and from the incidents 
of a seaman's life ; and was often remarkably good. He spoke 
to them of "that glorious man, Lord Nelson,'', and of.Colling- 
wood ; and drew nothing in, as the saying is, by the head and 
shoulders, but brought it to bear upon his purpose naturally, 
and with a sharp mind to its effect. Sometimes, when much 
excited with his subject, he had an odd way — compounded of 
John Bunyan, and Balfour of Burley — of taking his great quarto 
Bible under his arm, and pacing up and down the pulpit with 
it ; looking, steadily down, meantime, into the midst of the 
congregation. Thus, when he applied his text to the first 
assemblage of his hearers, and pictured the wonder of the 
church at their presumption in forming a congregation among 
themselves, he stopped short with his Bible under his arm in 
the manner I have described, and pursued his discourse after 
this manner : 

" Who are these — who are they — who are these fellows ? 
Where do they come from ? Where are they going to ? — Come 
from! What's the answer?" — leaning out of the pulpit, and 
pointing downward with his right hand : " From below !" — start- 
ing back again, and looking at the sailors before him: "from 
below, my brethren. From under the hatches of sin, battened 
down above you by the evil one. That's where you came from!" 
• — a walk up and. down the pulpit: "and where are" you going?" 

r 2 



68 AMERICAN rfOTES 

— stopping abruptly : " where are you going ? Aloft'" — very 
softly, and pointing upward: "aloft!" — louder: "aloft!" — 
louder still : " that's where you are going. — with a fair wind, — » 
all taut and trim, steering direct for Heaven in its glory, where 
there are no storms or foul weather, and where the wicked 
cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest." — Another walk: 
" That's where you're going to, my friends. That's it. That's 
the place. That's the port. That's the haven. It's a blessed 
harbour — still water there, in all changes of the winds and tides ; 
no driving ashore upon the rocks, or slipping your cables and 
running out to sea, there : Peace — Peace — Peace — all peace!" — 
Another walk, and patting the Bible under his left arm : "What! 
These fellows are coming from the wilderness, are they ? Yes. 
From the dreary, blighted wilderness of Iniquity, whose only 
crop is Death. But do they lean upon anything — do they lean 
upon nothing, these poor seamen ?" — Three raps upon the Bible: 
" Oh yes! — Yes. — They lean upon the arm of their Beloved" — 
three more raps: "upon the arm of their Beloved" — three 
more, and a walk : " Pilot, guiding-star, and compass, all in 
one, to all hands — here it is" — three more : " here it is. They 
can do their seaman's duty manfully, and be easy in their minds 
in the utmost peril and danger, with this" — two more : "they 
can come, even these poor fellows can come, from the wilderness, 
leaning on the arm of their Beloved, and go up — up — up !" — 
raising his hand higher and higher at every repetition of the 
word, so that he stood with it at last stretched above his head, 
regarding them in a strange, rapt manner, and pressing the book 
triumphantly to his breast, until he gradually subsided into 
some other portion of his discourse. 

I have cited this, rather as an instance of the preacher's 
eccentricities than his merits, though, taken in connection with 
his look and manner, and the character of his audience, even 
this was striking. It is possible, however, that my favourable 
impression of him may have been greatly influenced and 
.strengthened, firstly, by his impressing upon his hearers that 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 69 

the true observance of religion was not inconsistent with a 
cheerful deportment and an exact discharge of the duties of 
their station, which, indeed, it scrupulously required of them ; 
and secondly, by his cautioning them not to set up any 
monopoly in Paradise and its mercies. I never heard these two 
points so wisely touched (if, indeed, I have ever heard them 
touched at all) by any preacher of that kind before. 

Having passed the time I spent in Boston in making myself 
acquainted with these things, in settling the course I should take 
in my future travels, and in mixing constantly with its society, 
I am not aware that I have any occasion to prolong this chapter. 
Such of its social customs as I have not mentioned, however, 
may be told in a very few words. 

The usual dinner hour is two o'clock. A dinner-party takes 
place at five ; and at an evening party they seldom sup later 
than eleven ; so that it goes hard but one gets home, even from 
a rout, by midnight. I never could find out any difference 
between a party at Boston and a party in London, saving that 
at the former place all assemblies are held at more rational 
hours; that the conversation may possibly be a little louder and 
more cheerful ; that a guest is usually expected to ascend to the 
very top of the house to take his cloak off; that he is certain 
to see, at every dinner, an unusual amount of poultry on the 
table ; and at every supper, at least two mighty bowls of hot 
stewed oysters, in any one of which a half-grown Duke of 
Clarence might be smothered easily. 

There are two theatres in Boston, of good size and construc- 
tion, but sadly in want of patronage. The few ladies who resort 
to them sit, as of right, in the front rows of the boxes. 

The bar is a large room with a stone floor, and there people 
stand and smoke, and lounge about, all the evening : dropping 
in and out as the humour takes them. There, too, the stranger 
is initiated into the mysteries of Gin-sling, Cocktail, Sangaree, 
Mint Julep, Sherry Cobbler, Timber Doodle, and other rare 
drinks, The house is full of boarders, both married and single, 



70 AMERICAN XOTF.S 

many of whom sleep upon the premises, and contract by the 
week for their board and lodging : the charge for which dimi- 
nishes as they go nearer the sky to roost. A public table is laid 
in a very handsome hall for breakfast, and for dinner, and for 
supper. The party sitting down together to these meals will 
vary in number from one to two hundred : sometimes more. The 
advent of each of these epochs in the day is proclaimed by 
an awful gong, which shakes the very window frames as it 
reverberates through the house, and horribly disturbs nervous 
foreigners. > There is an ordinary for ladies, and an ordinary for 
gentlemen. 

In our private room the cloth could not, for any earthly con- 
sideration, have been laid for dinner without a huge glass dish 
of cranberries in the middle of the table ; and breakfast would 
have been no breakfast unless the principal dish were a deformed 
beef-steak with a great flat bone in the centre, swimming in hot 
butter, and sprinkled with the very blackest of all possible 
pepper. Our bedroom was spacious and airy, but (like every 
bedroom on this side of the Atlantic) very bare of furniture, 
having no curtains to the French bedstead or to the window. 
It had one unusual luxury, however, in the shape of a wardrobe 
of painted wood, something smaller than an English watch-box : 
ot, if this comparison should be insufficient to convey a just 
idea of its dimensions, they may be estimated from the fact of 
my having lived for fourteen days and nights in the firm belief 
that it was a shower-bath. 



CHAPTER IV. 

AN AMERICAN RAILROAD. LOWELL AND ITS FACTORY SYSTEM. 

"DEFORE leaving Boston, I devoted one day to an excursion 
to Lowell. I assign a separate chapter to this visit ; not 
because I am about to describe it at any great length, but 
because I remember it as a thing by itself, and am desirous that 
my readers should do the same. 

I made acquaintance with an American railroad on this occa- 
sion, for the first time. As these works are pretty much alike 
all through the States, their general characteristics are easily 
described. 

There are no first and second class carriages as with us ; but 
there is a gentlemen's car and a ladies' car : the main distinc- 
tion between which is, that in the first everybody smokes ; and 
in the second, nobody does. As a black man never travels with 
a white one, there is also a negro car ; which is a great, blun- 
dering, clumsy chest, such as Gulliver put to sea in from the 
kingdom of Brobdingnag. There is a great deal of jolting, a 
great deal of noise, a great deal of wall, not much window, a 
locomotive engine,' a shriek, and a bell. 

The cars are like shabby omnibuses, but larger : holding 
thirty, forty, fifty people. The seats, instead of stretching from 
end to end, are placed crosswise. Each seat holds two persons. 
There is a long row of them on each side of the caravan, a 
naiTow passage up the middle, and a door at both ends. In the 
centre of, the carriage there is usually a stove, fed with charcoal 
or anthracite coal ; which is for the most part red-hot. It is 
insufferably close ; and you see the hot air fluttering between 



72 AMERICAN NOTES 

yourself and any other object you may happen to look at, like 
the ghost of smoke. 

In the ladies' car there are a great many gentlemen who have 
ladies with them. There are also a great many ladies who have 
nobody with them : for any lady may travel alone, from one end 
of the United States to the other, and be certain of the most 
courteous and considerate treatment everywhere. The conductor, 
or check-taker, or guard, or whatever he may be, wears no 
uniform. He walks up and down the car, and in and out of it, 
as his fancy dictates ; leans against the door with his hands in 
his pockets, and stares at you, if you chance to be a stranger ; 
or enters into conversation with the passengers about him. A 
great many newspapers are .pulled out, and a few of them are 
read. Everybody talks to you, or to anybody else who hits his 
fancy. If you are an Englishman, he expects that that railroad 
is pretty much like an English railroad. If you say " No," he 
says " Yes ? " (interrogatively), and asks in what respect they 
differ. You enumerate the heads of difference, one by one, and 
he says "Yes ?" (still interrogatively) to each. Then he guesses 
that you don't travel faster in England ; and on your replying 
that you do, says "Yes ? " again (still interrogatively), and, it is 
quite evident, don't believe it! After a long pause he remarks, 
partly to you, and partly to the knob on the top of his stick, that 
"Yankees are reckoned to be considerable of a go-ahead people 
too ; " upon which you say " Yes," and then he says " Yes " 
again (affirmatively this time) ; and, upon your looking out of 
window, tells you that behind that hill, and some three miles 
from the next station, there is a clever town in a smart lo-ca- 
tion, where he expects you have con-eluded to stop. Your 
answer in the negative naturally leads to more questions in 
reference to your intended route (always pronounced rout) ; and 
wherever you are going, you invariably learn that you can't get 
there without immense difficulty and danger, and that all the 
great sights are somewhere else. 

If a lady take a fancy to any male passenger's seat, th§ 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 73 

gentleman who accompanies her gives him notice of the fact, 
and he immediately vacates it with great politeness. Politics 
are much discussed ; so are banks, so is cotton. Quiet people 
avoid the question of the Presidency, for there will be a new 
election in three years and a half, and party feeling runs very 
high : the great constitutional feature of this institution being, 
that directly the acrimony of the last election is over, the acri- r. 
mony of the next one begins ; which is an unspeakable comfort j 
to all strong politicians and true lovers of their country : that j 
is to say, to ninety-nine men and boys out of every ninety-nine 
and a quarter. • ~~ ~ 

Except when a branch road joins the main one, there is 
seldom more than one track of rails ; so that the road is very 
narrow, and the view, where there is a deep cutting, by no means 
extensive. When there is not, the character of the scenery 
is always the same. Mile after mile of stunted trees : some 
hewn down by the axe, some blown down by the wind, some 
half fallen and resting on their neighbours, many mere logs half 
hidden in the swamp, others mouldered away to spongy chips. 
The very soil of the earth is made up of minute fragments such 
as these ; each pool of stagnant water has its crust of vegetable 
rottenness ; on every side there are the boughs, and trunks, and 
stumps of trees, in every possible stage of decay, decomposition, 
and neglect. Now you emerge for a few brief minutes on an 
open country, glittering with some bright lake or pool, broad as 
many an English river, but so small here that it scarcely has a 
name ; now catch hasty glimpses of a distant town, with its 
clean white houses and their cool piazzas, its prim New England 
church and school-house ; when whir-r-r-r ! almost before you 
have seen them, comes the same dark screen : the stunted trees, 
the stumps, the logs, the stagnant water — all so like the last 
that you seem to have been transported back again by magic. 

The train calls at stations in the woods, where the wild impos- 
sibility of anybody having the smallest reason to get out is only 
to be equalled by the apparently desperate hopelessness of 



74 AMERICAN NOTES 

there being anybody to get in. It rushes across the turnpike 
road, where there is no gate, no policeman, no signal : nothing 
but a rough wooden arch, on which is painted " When the bell 
rings, look out for the Locomotive." On it whirls headlong, 
dives through the woods again, emerges in the light, clatters 
over frail arches, rumbles upon the heavy ground, shoots beneath 
a wooden bridge which intercepts the light for a second like a 
wink, suddenly awakens all the slumbering echoes in the main 
street of a large town, and dashes on hap-hazard, pell-mell, neck 
or nothing, down the middle of the road. There — with 
mechanics working at their trades, and people leaning from 
their doors and windows, and boys flying kites and playing 
marbles, and men smoking, and women talking, and children 
crawling, and pigs burrowing, and unaccustomed horses plung- 
ing and rearing, close to the very rails— there — on, on, on — 
tears the mad dragon of an engine with its train of cars ; 
scattering in all directions a shower of burning sparks from its 
wood fire ; screeching, hissing, yelling, panting, until at last 
the thirsty monster stops beneath a covered way to drink, the 
people cluster round, and you have time to breathe again. 

I was met at the station at Lowell by a gentleman intimately 
connected with the management of the factories there ; and 
gladly putting myself under his guidance, drove off at once to 
that quarter of the town in which the works, the object of my 
visit, were situated. Although only just of age — for, if my 
recollection serve me, it has been a manufacturing town barely 
one-and-twenty years — Lowell is a large, populous, thriving 
place. Those indications of its youth which first attract the 
eye, give it a quaintness and oddity of character which, to a 
visitor from the old country, is amusing enough. It was a very 
dirty winter's day, and nothing in the whole town looked old to 
me, except the mud, which in some parts was almost knee deep, 
and might have been deposited there on the subsiding of the 
waters after the Deluge. In one place there was a new wooden 
church, which, having no steeple, and being yet unpainted, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 75 

looked like an enormous packing-case without any direction 
upon it. In another there was a large hotel, whose walls and 
colonnades were so crisp, and thin, and slight, that it had exactly 
the appearance of being built with cards. I was careful not to 
draw my breath as we passed, and trembled when I saw a work- 
man come out upon the roof, lest with one thoughtless stamp of 
his foot he should crush the structure beneath him, and bring it 
rattling down. The very river that moves the machinery in the 
mills (for they are all worked by water power) seems to acquire 
a new character from the fresh buildings of bright red brick and 
painted wood among which it takes its course ; and to be as 
light-headed, thoughtless, and brisk a young river, in its mur- 
murings and tumblings, as one would desire to see. One would 
swear that every " Bakery," " Grocery," and " Bookbindery," 
and other kind of store took its shutters down for the first time, 1 
and started in business yesterday. The golden pestles and 
mortars fixed as signs xipon the" sun-blind frames outside the 
Druggists' appear to have been just turned out of the United 
States' Mint ; and when I saw a baby of some week or ten days , 
old in a woman's arms at a street corner, I found myself uncon- ; 
sclously wondering where it came from : never supposing for an; . 
instant that it could have been born in such a young town as 
that. 

There are several factories in Lowell, each of which belongs 
to what we should term a Company of Proprietors, but what 
they call in America a Corporation. I went over several of 
these ; such as a woollen -factory, a carpet factory, and a cotton 
factory : examined them in every part ; and saw them in their 
ordinary working aspect, with no preparation of any kind, or 
departure from their ordinary every-day proceedings. I may 
add that I am well acquainted with our manufacturing towns in 
England, and have visited many mills in Manchester and else- 
where in the same manner. 

I happened to arrive at the first factory just as the dinner 
hour was over, and the girls were returning to their work ; 



xJ 



76 AMERICAN NOTES 

indeed, the stairs of the mill were thronged with them as I 
ascended. They were all well dressed, but not, to my thinking, 
above their condition : for I like to see the humbler classes of 
society careful of their dress and appearance, and even, if they 
please, decorated with such little trinkets as come within the 
compass of their means. Supposing it confined within reason- 
able limits, I would always encourage this kind of pride, as a ■ 
worthy element of self-respect, in any person I employed ; and 
should no more be deterred from doing so, because some 
wretched female referred her fall to a love of dress, than I 
would allow my construction of the real intent and meaning of 
the Sabbath to be influenced by any warning to the well- 
disposed, founded on his backslidings on that particular day, 
which might emanate from the rather doubtful authority of a 
murderer in Newgate. 

These girls, as I have said, were all well dressed : and that 
phrase necessarily includes extreme cleanliness. They had 
serviceable bonnets, good warm cloaks and shawls ; and were 
not above clogs and pattens. Moreover, there were places in the 
mill in which they could deposit these things without injury ; 
and there were conveniences for washing. They were healthy in 
appearance, many of them remarkably so, and had the manners 
and deportment of young women : not of degraded brutes of 
burden. If I had seen in one of those mills (but I did not, 
though I looked for something of this kind with a sharp eye) the 
most lisping, mincing, affected, and ridiculous young creature 
that my imagination could suggest, I should have thought of the 
careless, moping, slatternly, degraded, dull reverse (I have seen 
that), and should have been still well pleased to look upon her. 

The rooms in which they worked were as well ordered as 
themselves. In the windows of some there were green plants, 
which were trained to shade the glass ; in all, there was as much 
fresh air, cleanliness, and comfort as the nature of the occupa- 
tion would possibly admit of. Out of so large a number qf 
females, many of whom were only then just verging upon 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. ft 

Womanhood, it may be reasonably supposed that some were 
delicate and fragile in appearance : no doubt there were. But 
I solemnly declare, that from all the crowd I saw in the different 
factories that day, I cannot recall or separate one young face 
that gave me a painful impression ; not one young girl whom, 
assuming it to be matter of necessity that she should gain her 
daily bread by the labour of her hands, I would have removed 
from those works if I had had the power. 

They reside in various boarding-houses near at hand. The\ 
owners of the mills are particularly careful to allow no persons I 
to enter upon the possession of these houses, whose characters 
have not undergone the most searching and thorough inquiry. 
Any complaint that is made against them by the boarders, or by 
any one else, is fully investigated ; and if good ground of com- 
plaint be shown to exist against them, they are removed, and 
their occupation is handed over to some more deserving person. 
There are a few children employed in these factories, but not 
many. The laws of the State forbid their working more than), 
nine months in the year, and require that they be educated' 
during the other three. For this purpose there are schools in 
Lowell ; and there are churches and chapels of various persua- 
sions, in which the young women may observe that form of 
worship in which they have been educated. 

At some distance from the factories, and on the highest and 
pleasantest ground in the neighbourhood, stands their hospital, 
or boarding-house for the sick : it is the best house in those 
parts, and was built by an eminent merchant for his own resi- 
dence. Like that institution at Boston, which I have before 
described, it is not parcelled out into wards, but is divided into 
convenient chambers, each of which has all the comforts of a 
very comfortable home. The principal medical attendant resides 
under the same roof ; and were the patients members of his own 
family, they could not be better cared for, or attended with 
greater gentleness and consideration. The weekly charge in thin 
establishment for each female patient is three dollars, or "twelve 



78 AMERICAN NOTES 

, shillings English ; but no girl employed by any of the corpora- 
tions is ever excluded for want of the means of payment. That 
they do not very often want the means may be gathered from 
the fact, that in July, 1841, no fewer than nine hundred and 
seventy-eight of these girls were depositors in the Lowell Savings 
Bank : the amount of whose joint savings was estimated at one 
hundred thousand dollars, or twenty thousand English pounds. 

I am now going to state three facts, which will startle a large 
class of readers on this side of the Atlantic very much. 

Firstly, there is a joint-stock piano in a great many of the 
boarding-houses. Secondly, nearly all these young ladies sub- 
scribe to circulating libraries. Thirdly, they have got up among 
themselves a periodical called The Lowell Offering, " a repo- 
sitory of original articles, written exclusively by females actively 
employed in the mills," — which is duly printed, published, and 
sold ; and whereof I brought away from Lowell four hundred 
good solid pages, which I have read from beginning to end. 

The large class of readers, startled by these facts, will exclaim, 
with one voice, '' How very preposterous ! " On my deferen- 
tially inquiring why, they will answer, " These things are above 
their station." In reply to that objection, I would beg to ask 
what their station is. 

It is their station to work. And they do Avork. They labour 
in these mills, upon an average, twelve hours a day, which is 
unquestionably work, and pretty tight work too. Perhaps it is 
above their station to indulge in such amusements on any terms. 
Are we quite sure that we in England have not formed our ideas 
of the "station" of working-people from accustoming ourselves 
to the contemplation of that class as they are, and not as they 
( might be? I think that, if we examine our own feelings, we 
shall find that the pianos, and the circulating libraries, and even 
the Lowell Offering, startle us by their novelty, and not by their 
bearing upon any abstract question of right or wrong. 

For myself, I know no station in which, the occupation of 
to-day" cheerfully done and the occupation of to-morrow cheer- 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 7$ 

fully looked to, any one of these pursuits is not most humanising 
and laudable. I know no station which is rendered more endur- 
able to the person in it, or more safe to the person out of it, by 
having ignorance for its associate. I know no station which has 
a right to monopolise the means of mutual instruction, improve : 
ment, and rational entertainment ; or which has ever continued 
to be a station very long after seeking to do so. 

Of the merits of the Lowell Offering as a literary production 
I will only observe, putting entirely out of sight the fact of the 
articles having been written by these girls after the arduous 
labours of the day, that it will compare advantageously with a 
great many English Annuals. It is pleasant to find that many 
of its Tales are of the Mills, and of those who work in them ; 
that they inculcate habits of self-denial and contentment, and 
teach good doctrines of enlarged, benevolence. . A strong, feeling 
for ^the beauties, of nature, as displayed in the solitudes the 
writers have left at home, breathes through its pages like whole- 
some village air ; and though a circulating library is a favourable 
school for the study,. of such topics,, it lias very scant allusion to 
fine clothes, fine marriages, fine, houses, or fine life. Some per- 
sons might object to the papers being signed occasionally with 
rather fine names, but this is an American fashion. One of the 
provinces of the State Legislature of Massachusetts is to alter 
ugly names into pretty ones, as the children improve upon the 
tastes of their parents. These changes costing little or nothing, 
scores of Mary Annes are solemnly converted into Bevelinas 
every session. 

It is said that on the occasion of a visit from General Jackson 
or General Harrison to this town (I forget which, but it is not 
to the purpose), he walked through three miles and a half of 
these young ladies, all dressed out with parasols and silk stopk- 
ings. But, as I am not aware that any worse consequence 
ensued than a sudden looking-up of all the parasols and silk 
stockings in the market ; and perhaps the Bankruptcy of some 
speculative New Englander who bought them all up at any price, 



§6 American n6teS 

in expectation of a demand that never came ; I set iio great 
store by the circumstance. 

In this brief account of Lowell, and inadequate expression "of 
the gratification it yielded me, and cannot fail to afford to any 
foreigner to whom the condition of such people at home is a 
subject of interest and anxious speculation, I have carefully 
abstained from drawing a comparison between these factories 
and those of our own land. Many of the circumstances whose 
strong influence has been at work for years in our manufacturing 
towns have not arisen here ; and there is no manufacturing popu- 
lation in Lowell, so to speak : for these girls (often the daughters 
of small farmers) come from other States, remain a few years in 
the mills, and then go home for good. 

The contrast would be a strong one, for it would be between 
the Good and Evil, the living light and deepest shadow. I 
abstain from it, because I deem it just to do so. But I only 
the more earnestly adjure all those whose eyes may rest on these 
pages, to pause and reflect upon the difference between this 
town and those great haunts of desperate misery : to call to 
mind, if they can in the midst of party strife and squabble, the 
efforts that must be made to purge them of their suffering and 
danger : and last, and foremost, to remember how the precious 
Time is rushing by. 

I returned at- night by the same railroad, and in the same 
kind of car. One of the passengers being exceedingly anxious 
to expound at great length to my companion (not to me, of 
course) the true principles on which books of travel in America 
should be written by Englishmen, I feigned to fall asleep. But 
glancing all the way out at window from the corners of my 
eyes, I found abundance of entertainment for the rest of the 
ride in Watching the effects of the wood fire, which had been 
invisible in -the morning, but were now brought out in full relief 
by the darkness : for we were travelling in a whirlwind of bright 
sparks, which showered about us like a storm, of fiery snow. 



CHAPTER V. 

WORCESTER. THE CONNECTICUT RIVER. HARTFORD. NEW HAVEN TO NEW TORX. 

T EAVING Boston on the afternoon of Saturday, the fifth of 
■^ February, we proceeded by another railroad to Worcester : 
a pretty New England town, where we had arranged to remain 
under the hospitable roof of the Governor of the State until 
Monday morning. 

These towns and cities of New England (many of which would 
be villages in Old England) are as favourable specimens of rural 
America as their people are of rural Americans. The well- 
trimmed lawns and green meadows of home are not there ; and 
the grass, compared with our ornamental plots and pastures, is 
rank, and rough, and wild : but delicate slopes of land, gently- 
swelling hills, wooded valleys, and slender streams abound. 
Every little colony of houses has its church and school-house 
peeping from among the white roofs and shady trees ; every 
house is the whitest of the white ; every Venetian blind the 
greenest of the green ; every fine day's sky the bluest of the 
blue. A sharp dry wind and a slight frost had so hardened the 
roads when we alighted at Worcester, that their furrowed tracks 
were like ridges of granite. There was the usual aspect of new- 
ness on every object, of course. All the buildings looked as ifj? 
they had been built and painted that morning, and could beU 
taken down on Monday with very little trouble. In the keen 
evening air, every sharp outline looked a hundred times sharper 
than ever. The clean cardboard colonnades had no more per- 
spective than a Chinese bridge oh a teacup, and appeared 
equally well calculated for use. The razor-like edges of the 

G 



82 AMERICAN NOTES 

detached cottages seemed to cut the very wind as it whistled 
against them, and to send it smarting on its way with a shriller 
cry than before. Those slightly-built wooden dwellings, behind 
which the sun was setting with a brilliant lustre, could be so 
looked through and through, that the idea of any inhabitant 
being able to hide himself from the public gaze, or to have any 
secrets from the public eye, was not entertainable for a moment. 
Even where a blazing fire shone through the uncurtained windows 
of some distant house, it had the air of being newly lighted, and 
of lacking warmth ; and instead of awakening thoughts of a snug 
' chamber, bright with faces that first saw the light round that 
same hearth, and ruddy with warm hangings, it came upon one 
suggestive of the smell of new mortar and damp walls. 

So I thought, at least, that evening. Next morning, when 
the sun was shining brightly, and the clear church bells were 
ringing, and sedate people in their best clothes enlivened the 
pathway near at hand, and dotted the distant thread of road, 
there was a pleasant Sabbath peacefulness on everything which 
it was good to feel. It would have been the better for an old 
church ; better still for some old graves ; but as it was, a whole- 
some repose and tranquillity pervaded the scene, which, after the 
restless ocean and the hurried city, had a doubly grateful influ- 
ence on the spirits. 

We went on next morning, still by railroad, to Springfield. 
From that place to Hartford, whither we were bound, is a distance 
of only five-and-twenty miles, but at that time of the year the 
roads were so bad that the journey would probably have occupied 
ten or twelve hours. Fortunately, however, the winter having 
been unusually mild, the Connecticut Kiver was " open," or, in 
other words, not frozen. The captain of a small steamboat was 
going to make his first trip for the season that day (the second 
February trip, I believe, within the memory of man), and only 
waited for us to go on board. Accordingly, we went on board 
with as little, delay as might be. He was as good as his word, 
and started directly. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 83 

It certainly was not called a small steamboat without reason. 
I omitted to ask the question, but I should think it must have 
been of about half a pony power. Mr. Paap, the celebrated 
Dwarf, might have lived and died happily in the cabin, which 
was fitted with common sash-windows like an ordinary dwelling- 
house. These windows had bright red' curtains, too, hung 
on slack strings across the lower panes ; so that it looked like 
the parlour of a Lilliputian public-house, which had got afloat 
in a flood or some other water accident, and was drifting nobody 
knew where. But even in this chamber there was a rocking- 
chair. It would be impossible to get on anywhere, in America, 
without a rocking-chair. 

I am afraid to tell how many feet short this vessel was, or 
how many feet narrow ; to apply the words length and width to 
such measurement would be a contradiction in terms. But I 
may state that we all kept the middle of the deck, lest the boat 
should unexpectedly tip over ; and that the machinery, by some 
surprising process of condensation, worked between it and the 
keel : the whole forming a warm sandwich, about three feet 
thick. 

It rained all day, as I once thought it never did rain anywhere 
but in the Highlands of Scotland. The river was full of float- 
ing blocks of ice, which were constantly crunching and cracking 
under us ; and the depth of water, in the course we took to 
avoid the larger masses, carried down the middle of the river 
by the current, did not exceed a few inches. Nevertheless, we 
. moved onward dexterously ; and, being well wrapped up, bade 
defiance to the weather, and enjoyed the journey. The Connec- 
ticut River is a fine stream ; and the banks in summer-time are, 
I have no doubt, beautiful : at all events, I was told so by a 
young lady in the cabin ; and she should be a judge of beauty, 
if the possession of a quality include the appreciation of it, for 
a more beautiful creature I never looked upon. 

After two hours and a half of this odd travelling (including 
a stoppage at a small t6wn, where we were saluted by a gun 

a 2 



84 AMERICAN NOTES 

considerably bigger than our own chimney), we reached Hart- 
ford, and straightway repaired to an extremely comfortable 
hotel : except, as usual, in the article of bedrooms, which, in 
almost every place we visited, were very conducive to early 
rising. 

We tarried here four days. The town is beautifully situated 
, in a basin of green hills ; the soil is rich, well wooded, and care- 
10 fully improved. It is the seat of the local legislature of Con- 
necticut, which sage body enacted, in bygone times, the renowned 
code of " Blue Laws," in virtue whereof, among other enlightened 
provisions, any citizen who could be proved to have kissed his 
wife on Sunday was punishable, I believe, with the stocks. 
1 j Too much of the old Puritan spirit exists in these parts to the 
' present hour ; but its influence has not tended, that I know, to 
make the people less hard in their bargains, or more equal in 
their dealings. As I never heard of its working that effect 
anywhere else, I infer that it never will here. Indeed, I am 
accustomed, with reference to^ great professions and severe faces, 
to judge of the goods of the other world pretty much as I judge 
of the goods of this ; and whenever I see a dealer in such 
commodities with too great a display of them in his window, I 
doubt the quality of the article within. 

In Hartford stands the famous oak in which the charter of 

King Charles was hidden. It is now enclosed in a gentleman's 

garden. In the State House is the charter itself. I found the 

f courts of law here just the same as at Boston ; the public Insti- 

| tutions almost as good. The Insane Asylum is admirably con- 

1 ducted, and so is the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. 

I very much questioned within myself, as I walked through 
the Insane Asylum, whether I should have known the attend- 
ants from the patients, but for the few words which passed 
between the former and the Doctor, in reference to the persons 
under their charge. Of course I limit this remark merely to 
their looks ; for the conversation of the mad people was mad 
enoliffh. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 85 

There Was one little prim old lady, of very smiling and good 1 - 
humoured appearance, who came sidling up to me from the end 
of a long passage, and, with a curtsy of inexpressible condescen- 
sion, propounded this unaccountable inquiry : 

"Does Pontefract still flourish, sir, upon the soil of Eng- 
land ? " 

" He does, ma'am," I rejoined. 

" When you last saw him, sir, he was- " 

" Well, ma'am," said I, " extremely well. He begged me to 
present his compliments. I never saw him looking better." 

At this the old lady was very much delighted. After glancing 
at me for a moment, as if to be quite sure that I was serious 
in my respectful air, she sidled back some paces ; sidled forward 
again ; made a sudden skip (at which I precipitately retreated a 
step or two) ; and said : 

" I am an antediluvian, sir." 

I thought the best thing to say was, that I had suspected as 
much from the first. Therefore I said so. 

" It is an extremely proud and pleasant thing, sir, to be an 
antediluvian," said the old lady. 

" I should think it was, ma'am," I rejoined. 

The old lady kissed her hand, gave another skip, smirked, and 
sidled down the gallery in a most extraordinary manner, and 
ambled gracefully into her own bedchamber. 

In another part of the building there was a male patient in 
bed ; very much flushed and heated. 

" Well ! " said he, starting up, and pulling off his nightcap : 
"it's all settled at last. I have arranged it with Queen Vic- 
toria." 

" Arranged what ? " asked the Doctor. 

" Why, that business," passing his hand wearily across his 
forehead, " about the siege of New York." 

" Oh ! " said I, like a man suddenly enlightened. For he 
looked at me for an answer. 

" Yes. Every house without a signal will bo fired upon by 



86 AMERICAN NOTES 

the British troops. No harm will be done to the others. No 
harm at all. Those that want to be safe must hoist flags. 
That's all they'll have to do. They must hoist flags." 

Even while he was speaking he seemed, I thought, to have 
some faint idea that his talk was incoherent, Directly he had 
said these words, he lay down again; gave a kind of groan; 
and covered his hot head with the blankets. 

There was another : a young man whose madness was love 
and music. After playing on the accordion a march he had com- 
posed, he was very anxious that I should walk into his chamber, 
which I immediately did. 

By way of being very knowing, and humouring him to the 
top of his bent, I went to the window, which commanded a 
beautiful prospect, and remarked, with an address upon which 
I greatly plumed myself : 

" What a delicious country you have about these lodgings of 
yours ! " 

" Poh ! " said he, moving his fingers carelessly over the notes 
of his instrument. " Well enough for such an Institution as 
this!" 

I don't think I was ever so taken aback in all my life. 

" I come here just for a whim," he said coolly. " That's 
all." 

"Oh! That's all!" said I. 

" Yes. That's all. The Doctor's a smart man. He quite 
enters into it. It's a joke of mine. I like it for a time. You 
needn't mention it, but I think I shall go out next Tuesday ! " 

I assured him that I would consider our interview perfectly 
confidential : and rejoined the Doctor. As we were passing 
through a gallery on our way out, a well-dressed lady, of quiet 
and composed manners, came up, and proffering a slip of paper 
and a pen, begged that I would oblige her with an autograph. 
I complied, and we parted. 

" I think I remember having had a few interviews like that 
with ladies out of doors. I hope she is not mad ? " 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 87 

" Yes." 

" On what subject ? Autographs ? " 

" No. She hears voices in the air." 

" Well ! " thought I, "it would be well if we could shut up a 
few false prophets of these later times, who have professed to do 
the same ; and I should like to try the experiment on a Mor- 
monist or two to begin with." 

In this place there is the best Gaol for untried offenders in 
the world. There is also a very well-ordered State prison, 
arranged upon the same plan as that at Boston, except that here 
there is always a sentry on the wall with a loaded gun. It con- 
tained at that time about two hundred prisoners. A spot was 
shown me in the sleeping ward, where a watchman was mur- 
dered some years since in the dead of night, in a desperate 
attempt to escape made by a prisoner who had broken from his 
cell. A woman, too, was pointed out to me, who, for the 
murder of her husband, had been a close prisoner for sixteen 
years. 

" Do you think," I asked of my conductor, " that after so 
very long an imprisonment, she has any thought or hope of ever 
regaining her liberty ? " 

" Oh dear yes ! " he answered. " To be sure she has." 

" She has no chance of obtaining it, I suppose ? " 

" Well, I don't know : " which, by-the-bye, is a national 
answer. " Her friends mistrust her." 

" What have they to do with it ? " I naturally inquired. 

" Well, they won't petition." 

" But if they did, they couldn't get her out, I suppose 1 " 

"Well, not the first time, perhaps, nor yet the second, but 
tiring and wearying for a few years might do it." 

" Does that ever do it ? " 

" Why, yes, that'll do it sometimes. Political friends '11 do 
it sometimes. It's pretty often done, one way or another." 

I shall always entertain a very pleasant and grateful recollect 
tion of Hartford. It is a lovely place, and I had many friends 



88 American notes 

there, whom I never can remember with indifference. We left it 
with no little regret on the evening of Friday, the 11th, and 
travelled that night by railroad to New Haven. Upon the way, 
the guard and I were formally introduced to each other (as we 
usually were on such occasions), and exchanged a variety of 
small-talk. We reached New Haven at about eight o'clock, 
after a journey of three hours, and put up for the night at the 
best inn. 

New Haven, known also as the City of Elms, is a fine town. 
Many of its streets (as its alias sufficiently imports) are planted 
with rows of grand old elm-trees ; and the same natural orna- 
ments surround Yale College, an establishment of considerable 
eminence and reputation. The various departments of this 
Institution are erected in a kind of park or common in the 
middle of the town, where they are dimly visible among the 
shadowing trees. The effect is very like that of an old cathe- 
dral yard in England ; and, when their branches are in full leaf, 
must be extremely picturesque. Even in the winter-time, these 
groups of well-grown trees, clustering among the busy streets 
and houses of a thriving city, have a very quaint appearance : 
seeming to bring about a kind of compromise between town and 
country ; as if each had met the other half-way, and shaken 
hands upon it ; which is at once novel and pleasant. 

After a night's rest, we rose early, and in good time went 
down to the wharf, and on board the packet New York for New 
York. This was the first American steamboat of any size that 
I had seen ; and certainly, to an English eye, it was infinitely 
less like a steamboat than a huge floating bath. I could hardly 
persuade myself, indeed, but that the bathing establishment oil 
"Westminster Bridge, which I left a baby, had suddenly grown 
to an enormous size ; run away from home ; and set up in 
foreign parts as a steamer. Being in America, too, which our 
vagabonds do so particularly favour, it seemed the more pro- 
bable. 

The great difference in appearance between these packets and 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 89 

ours is, that there is so much of them out of the water : the 
main-deck being enclosed on all sides, and filled with casks and 
goods, like any second or third floor in a stack of warehouses ; 
and the promenade or hurricane deck being atop of that again. 
A part of the machinery is always above this deck ; where the 
connecting-rod, in a strong and lofty frame, is seen working away 
like an iron top-sawyer. There is seldom any mast or tackle : 
nothing aloft but two tall black chimneys. The man at the 
helm is shut up in a little house in the fore part of the boat 
(the wheel being connected with the rudder by iron chains, 
working the whole length of the deck) ; and the passengers, 
unless the weather be very fine indeed, usually congregate below. 
Directly you have left the wharf, all the life, and stir, and bustle 
of a packet cease. You wonder for a long time how she goes 
on, for there seems to be nobody in charge of her ; and when 
another of these dull machines comes splashing by, you feel 
quite indignant with it, as a sullen, cumbrous, ungraceful, 
unshiplike leviathan : quite forgetting that the vessel you are 
on board of is its very counterpart. 

There is always a clerk's office on the lower deck, where you 
pay your fare ; a ladies' cabin ; baggage and stowage rooms ; 
engineer's room ; and, in short, a great variety of perplexities 
which render the discovery of the gentlemen's cabin a matter of 
some difficulty. It often occupies the whole length of the boat 
(as it did in this case), and has three or four tiers of berths on 
each side. When I first descended into the cabin of the New- 
York, it looked, in my unaccustomed eyes, about as long as the 
Burlington Arcade. 

The Sound, which has to be crossed on this passage, is not 
always a very safe or pleasant navigation, and has been the 
scene of some unfortunate accidents. It was a wet morning, 
and very misty, and we soon lost sight of land. The day was 
calm, however, and brightened towards noon. After exhausting 
(with good help from a friend) the larder, and the stock of 
bottled beer, I lay down to sleep : being very much tired with 



00 AMERICAN NOTES 

the fatigues of yesterday. But I awoke from my nap in time 
to hurry up, and see Hell Gate, the Hog's Back, the Frying 
Pan, and other notorious localities, attractive to all readers of 
famous Diedrich Knickerbocker's History. We were now in a 
narrow channel, with sloping banks on either side, besprinkled 
with pleasant villas, and made refreshing to the sight by turf 
and trees. Soon we shot, in quick succession, past a light- 
house : a madhouse (how the lunatics flung up their caps and 
roared in sympathy with the headlong engine and the driving 
tide !) ; a gaol ; and other buildings : and so emerged into a 
noble bay, whose waters sparkled in the now cloudless sunshine 
like Nature's eyes turned up to Heaven. 

Then there lay stretched out before us, to the right, confused 
heaps of buildings, with here and there a spire or steeple, look- 
ing down, upon the herd below ; and here and there, again, a 
cloud of lazy smoke ; and in the foreground a forest of ships' 
masts, cheery with flapping sails and waving flags. Crossing 
from among them to the opposite shore, were steam ferry-boats 
laden with people, coaches, horses, waggons, baskets, boxes : 
crossed and recrossed by other ferry-boats : all travelling to and 
fro : and never idle. Stately among these restless Insects were 
two or three large ships, moving with slow majestic pace, as 
creatures of a prouder kind, disdainful of their puny journeys, 
and making for the broad sea. Beyond were shining heights, 
and islands in the glancing river, and a. distance scarcely less 
blue and bright than the sky it seemed to meet. The city's 
hum and buzz, the clinking of capstans, the ringing of bells, 
the barking of dogs, the clattering of wheels, tingled in the 
listening ear. All of which life and stir, coming across the 
stirring water, caught new life and animation from its free 
companionship ; and, sympathising with its buoyant spirits, 
glistened as it seemed in sport upon its surface, and hemmed 
the vessel round, and plashed the water high about her sides, 
and, floating her gallantly into the dock, flew off again' to 
welcome other comers, and speed before them to the busy port. 



CHAPTER VI. 



NEW YORK. 



T1HE beautiful metropolis of America is by no means so clean 
a city as Boston, but many of its streets have the same 
characteristics ; except that the houses are not quite so fresh- . 
coloured, the sign-boards are not quite so gaudy, the gilded n 
letters not quite so golden, the bricks not quite so red, the 
stone not quite so white, the blinds and area railings not quite 
so green, the knobs and plates upon the street-doors not quite 
so bright and twinkling. There are many by-streets, almost as 
neutral in clean colours, and positive in dirty ones, as by-streets 
in London ; and there is one quarter, commonly called the Five 
Points, which, in respect of filth and wretchedness, may be 
safely backed against Seven Dials, or any other part of famed 
St. Giles's. 

The great promenade and thoroughfare, as most people know, 
is Broadway ; a wide and bustling street, which, from the 
Battery Gardens to its opposite termination in a country road, 
may be four miles long. Shall we sit down in an upper floor 
of the Carlton House Hotel (situated in the best part of this 
main artery of New York), and, when we are tired of looking 
down upon the life below, sally forth arm-in-arm, and mingle 
with the. stream ? 

Warm weather ! The sun strikes upon our heads, at this 
open window, as though its rays were concentrated through a 
burning-glass ; but the day is in its zenith, and the season an 
unusual One. Was there ever such a sunny street as this 
Broadway ? The pavement stones are polished with the tread 



Q2 AMERICAN NOTES 

of feet Until they shine again ; the red bricks of the houses 
might be yet in the dry, hot kilns ; and the roofs of those 
omnibuses look as though, if water were poured on them, they 
would hiss and smoke, and smell like half-quenched fires. No 
stint of omnibuses here ! Half-a-dozen have gone by within as 
many minutes. Plenty of hackney cabs and coaches, too ; gigs, 
phaetons, large-wheeled tilburies, and private carriages — rather 
of a clumsy make, and not very different from the public 
vehicles, but built for the heavy roads beyond the city pave- 
ment. Negro coachmen and white ; in straw hats, black hats, 
white hats, glazed caps, fur caps ; in coats of drab, black, brown, 
green, blue, nankeen, striped jean and linen ; and there, in that 
one instance (look while it passes, or it will be too late), in suits 
of livery. Some Southern republican that, who puts his blacks 
in uniform, and swells with Sultan pomp and power. Yonder, 
where that phaeton with the well-clipped pair of greys has 
stopped — standing at their heads now — is a Yorkshire groom, 
who has not been very long in these parts, and looks sorrow- 
fully round for a companion pair of top-boots, which he may 
traverse the city half a year without meeting. Heaven save the 
ladies, how they dress ! We have seen more colours in these 
ten minutes than we should have seen elsewhere in as many 
days. What various parasols ! what rainbow silks and satins ! 
what pinking of thin stockings, and pinching of thin shoes, and 
fluttering of ribbons and silk tassels, and display of rich cloaks 
with gaudy hoods and linings ! The young gentlemen are fond, 
you see, of turning down their shirt collars and cultivating their 
whiskers, especially under the chin ; but they cannot approach 
the ladies in their dress or bearing, being, to say the truth, 
humanity of quite another sort. Byrons of the desk and 
counter, pass on, and let us see what kind of men those are 
behind ye : those two labourers in holiday clothes, of whom 
one carries in his hand a crumpled scrap of paper from which 
he tries to spell out a hard name, while the other looks about 
for it on all the doors and windows. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 93 

Irishmen both ! You might know them, if they were masked, 
by their long-tailed blue coats and bright buttons, and their 
drab trousers, which they wear like men well used to working 
dresses, who are easy in no others. It would be hard to keep 
your model republics going without the countrymen and 
countrywomen of those two labourers. For who else Avould 
dig, and delve, and drudge, and do domestic work, and make 
canals and roads, and execute great lines of Internal Improve- 
ment? Irishmen both, and sorely puzzled, too, to find out 
what they seek. Let us go down, and help them, for the love 
of home, and that spirit of liberty which admits of honest 
service to honest men, and honest work for honest bread, no 
matter what it be. 

That's well ! We have got at the right address at last, 
though it is written in strange characters truly, and might have 
been scrawled with the blunt handle of the spade the writer 
better knows the use of than a pen. Their way lies yonder, 
but what business takes them there ? They carry savings : to 
hoard up ? No. They are brothers, those men. One crossed 
the sea alone, and working very hard for one half-year, and 
living harder, saved funds enough to bring the other out. That 
done, they worked together side by side, contentedly sharing 
hard labour and' hard living for another term, and then their 
sisters came, and then another brother, and lastly, their old 
mother. And what now? Why, the poor old crone is restless: 
in a strange land, and yearns to lay her bones, she says, among I 
her people in the old graveyard at home : and so they go to pay 
her passage back : and God help her and them, and every 
simple heart, and all who turn to the Jerusalem of their 
younger days, and have an altar-fire upon the cold hearth of 
their fathers ! 

This narrow thoroughfare, baking and blistering in the sun, 
is Wall Street : the Stock Exchange and Lombard Street of 
New York. Many a rapid fortune has been made in this 
street, and many a no less rapid ruin. Some of these very 



94 AMERICAN NOTES 

merchants whom you see hanging about here now,, have looked 
up money in their strong-boxes, like the man in the Arabian 
Nights, and opening them again, have found but withered 
leaves. Below, here by the water-side, where the bowsprits of 
ships stretch across the footway, and almost thrust themselves 
into the windows, lie the noble American vessels which have 
made their Packet Service the finest in the world. They have 
brought hither the foreigners who abound in all the streets : 
not, perhaps, that there are more here than in other commercial 
cities ; but elsewhere they have particular haunts, and you must 
find them out ; here they pervade the town. 

We must cross Broadway again ; gaining some refreshment 
from the heat in the sight of the great blocks of clean ice which 
are being carried into shops and bar-rooms ; and the pine-apples 
and water-melons profusely displayed for sale. Fine streets of 
spacious houses here, you see ! — Wall Street has furnished and 
dismantled many of them very often — and here a deep green leafy 
square. Be sure that is a hospitable house, with inmates to be 
affectionately remembered always, where they have the open 
door and pretty show of plants within, and where the child with 
laughing eyes is peeping out of window at the little dog below. 
You wonder what may be the use of this tall flagstaff in the by- 
street, with something like Liberty's head-dress on its top : : so 
flo I. But there is a passion for tall flagstaffs hereabout, and 
you may see its twin brother in five minutes, if you have a 
mind. ' 

Again across Broadway, and so — passing from the many- 
coloured crowd and glittering shops — into another long main 
street, the Bowery. A rail-road yonder, see, where two stout 
horses trot along, drawing a score or two of people and a great 
wooden ark with ease. The stores are poorer here, the passen- 
gers less gay. Clothes ready made, and meat ready cooked, are 
to be bought in these parts ; and the lively whirl of carriages is 
exchanged for the deep rumble of carts and waggons. .. These 
signs which are so plentiful, in shape like river buoys, or small 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 95 

balloons, hoisted by cords to poles, and dangling there, announce, 
as you may see by looking up, "Oysters in every Style." 
They tempt the hungry most at night, for then dull candles, 
glimmering inside, illuminate these dainty words, and make the 
mouths of idlers water as they read and linger. 

What is this dismal-fronted pile of bastard Egyptian, like an 
enchanter's palace in a melodrama ? — A famous prison, called 
The Tombs. Shall we go in ? 

So. A long, narrow, lofty building, stove-heated as usual, 
with four galleries, one above the other, going round it, and 
communicating by stairs. Between the two sides of each 
gallery, and in its centre, a bridge, for the greater convenience 
of crossing. On each of these bridges sits a man : dozing or 
reading, or talking to an idle companion. On each tier are two 
opposite rows of small iron doors. They look like furnace 
doors, but are cold and black, as though the fires within had 
all gone out. Some two or three ai*e open, and women, with 
drooping heads bent down, are talking to the inmates. The 
whole is lighted by a sky-light, but it is fast closed ; and from 
the roof, there dangle, limp and drooping, two useless wind- 
sails. 

A man with keys appears, to show us round. A good-look- 
ing fellow, and, in his way, civil and obliging. 

" Are those black doors the cells ? " 

" Yes." 

"Are they all full?" 

" Well, they're pretty nigh full, and that's a fact, and no two 
ways about it." 

"Those at the bottom are unwholesome, surely ?" 

" Why, we do only put coloured people in 'em. That's the 
truth." 

" When do the prisoners take exercise ?" 

"Well, they do without it pretty much." 

l ' Do they never walk in the yard ?" 

" Considerable seldom." 



Q6 AMERICAN NOTES 

" Sometimes, I suppose ?" 

" Well, it's rare they do. They keep pretty bright without 
it. 

"But suppose a man were here for a twelvemonth. I know 
this is only a prison for criminals who are charged with grave 
offences, while they are awaiting their trial, or are under remand, 
but the law here affords criminals many means of delay. What 
with motions for new trial, and in arrest of judgment, and what 
not, a prisoner might be here for twelve months, I take it. might 
he not?" 

" Well, I guess he might." 

"Do you mean to say that in all that time he would never 
come out at that little iron door for exercise ?" 

" He might walk some, perhaps — not much." 

" Will you open one of the doors ?" 

"All, if you like." 

The fastenings jar and rattle, and one of the doors turns 
slowly on its hinges. Let us look in. A small bare cell, into 
which the light enters through a high chink in the wall. There 
is a rude means of washing, a table, and a bedstead. Upon the 
latter sits a man of sixty ; reading. He looks up for a moment ; 
gives an impatient dogged shake ; and fixes his eyes upon his 
book again. As we withdrew our heads, the door closes on him, 
and is fastened as before. This man has murdered his wife, and 
will probably be hanged. 

" How long has he been here ?" 

" A month." 

" When will he be tried ?" 

" Next term." 

"When is that?" 

" Next month." 

" In England, if a man be under sentence of death even, he 
has air and exercise at certain periods of the day." 

"Possible?" 

With what stupendous and untranslatable coolness ho says 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 97 

this, and how loungingly he leads on to the women's side : 
making, as he goes, a kind of iron castanet of the key and the 
stair-rail ! 

Each cell door on this side has a square aperture in it. Some 
of the women peep anxiously through it at the sound of foot- 
steps ; others shrink away in shame. — For what offence can that 
lonely child, of ten or twelve years old, be shut up here ? Oh ! 
that boy ? He is the son of a prisoner we saw just now ; is a f 
witness against his father ; and is detained here for safe keeping 
until the trial ; that's all. \ 

But it is a dreadful place for the child to pass the long days ', 
and nights in. This is rather hard treatment for a young wit- ' 
ness, is it not ? — What says our conductor ? 

"Well, it an't a very rowdy life, and that's a fact !" 

Again he clinks his metal castanet, and leads us leisurely 
away. I have a question to ask him as we go. 

" Pray, why do they call this place The Tombs 1" 

" Well, it's the cant name." 

"I know it is. Why?" 

"Some suicides happened here when it was first built. I 
expect it come about from that." 

" I saw, just now, that that man's clothes were scattered 
about the floor of his cell. Don't you oblige the prisoners to 
be orderly, and put such things away?" 

" Where should they put 'em ?" 1 

"Not on the ground, surely. What do you say to hanging ■_ 
them up?" 

He stops and looks round to emphasise his answer : ' ^ 

"Why, I say that's just it. When they had hooks they 
would hang themselves, so they're taken out of every cell, and 
there's only the marks left where they used to be !" 

The prison yard, in which he pauses now, has been the scene 
of terrible performances. Into this narrow, grave-like place men 
are brought out to die. The wretched creature stands beneath 
the gibbet on thf ground ; the rope about his neck ; and when 

H 



gS AMERICAN NOTES 

the sign is given, a weight at its other end conies running down, 
and swings him up into the air — a corpse. 

The law requires that there be present at this dismal spectacle 
the judge, the jury, and citizens to the amount of twenty-five, 
From the community it is hidden. To the dissolute and bad, 
the thing remains a frightful mystery. Between the crimina] 
and them, the prison wall is interposed as a thick gloomy veil, 
It is the curtain to his bed of death, his winding-sheet, and 
grave. From him it shuts out life, and all the motives tc 
unrepenting hardihood in that last hour, which its mere sight 
and presence is often all-sufficient to sustain. There are nc 
bold eyes to make him bold ; no ruffians to uphold a ruffian's 
name before. All beyond the pitiless stone wall is unknown 
\\ space. 

Let us go forth again into the cheerful streets. 

Once more in Broadway ! Here are the same ladies in bright 
colours, walking to and fro, in pairs and singly ; yonder the 
very same light blue parasol which passed and repassed the 
hotel window twenty times while we were sitting there. We 
are going to cross here. Take care of the pigs. Two portly 
sows are trotting up behind this carriage, and a select party oi 
half-a-dozen gentlemen hogs have just now turned the corner. 

Here is a solitary swine lounging homeward by himself. He 
has only one ear ; having parted with the other to vagrant dogs 
in the course of his city rambles. But he gets on very wel! 
without it ; and leads a roving, gentlemanly, vagabond kind o: 
life, somewhat answering to that of our club men at home. He 
leaves his lodgings every morning at a certain hour, throws him- 
self upon the town, gets through his day in some manner quite 
satisfactory to himself, and regularly appears at the door of his 
own house again at night, like the mysterious master of Gil Bias, 
He is a free-and-easy, careless, indifferent kind of pig, having s 
very large acquaintance among other pigs of the same character, 
whom he rather knows by sight than conversation, as he seldom 
troubles himself to stop and exchange civilities, but goes grunt- 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 99 

ing down the kennel, turning up the news and small-talk of the 
city in the shape of cabbage-stalks and offal, and bearing no 
tails but his own : which is a very short one, for his old enemies, 
the dogs, have been at that too, and have left him hardly 
enough to swear by. He is in every respect a republican pig, 
going wherever he pleases, and mingling with the best society, 
on an equal, if not superior footing, for every one makes way 
when he appears, and the haughtiest give him the wall, if he 
prefer it. He is a great philosopher, and seldom moved, unless 
by the dogs before mentioned. Sometimes, indeed, you may 
see his small eye twinkling on a slaughtered friend, whose 
carcase garnishes a butcher's door-post, but he grunts out. 
"Such is life : all flesh is pork !" buries his nose in the mire 
again, and waddles down the gutter : comforting himself with 
the reflection that there is one snout the less to anticipate stray 
cabbage-stalks, at any rate. 

They are the city scavengers, these pigs. Ugly brutes they/] 
are ; having, for the most part, scanty, brown backs, like the 
lids of old horsehair trunks : spotted with unwholesome black 
blotches. They have long, gaunt legs, too, and such peaked 
snouts, that if one of them could be persuaded to sit for his 
profile, nobody would recognise it for a pig's likeness. They are 
never attended upon, or fed, or driven, or caught, but are thrown 
upon their own resources in early life, and become preter- 
naturally knowing in consequence. Every pig knows where he 
lives, much better than anybody could tell him. At this hour, 
just as evening is closing in, you will see them roaming towards 
bed by scores, eating their way to the last. Occasionally, some 
youth among them who has over-eaten himself, or has been much 
worried by dogs, trots shrinkingly homeward, like a prodigal son ; 
but this is a rare case : perfect self-possession and self-reliance, 
and immovable composure, being their foremost attributes. 

The streets and shops are lighted now ; and as the eye travels 
down the long thoroughfare, dotted with bright jets of gas, it is 
reminded of Oxford Street or Piccadilly. Here =ind there % 

H 2 



I0O AMERICAN NOTES 

flight of broad stone cellar steps appears, and a painted lamp 
directs you to the Bowling Saloon, or Ten4?in alley : Ten-Pins 
being a game of mingled chance and skill, invented when the 
legislature passed an act forbidding Nine-Pins. At other down- 
ward flights of steps are other lamps, marking the whereabouts 
of oyster cellars — pleasant retreats, say I : not only by reason 
of their wonderful cookery of oysters, pretty nigh as large as 
cheese-plates, (or for thy dear sake, heartiest of Greek Pro- 
fessors !) but because, of all kinds of eaters of fish, or flesh, or 
fowl, in these latitudes, the swallowers of oysters alone are not 
gregarious ; but subduing themselves, as it were, to the nature 
of what they work in, and copying the coyness of the thing they 
eat, do sit apart in curtained boxes, anu consort by twos, not by 
two hundreds. 

But how quiet the streets are ! Are there no itinerant bands; 
no wind or stringed instruments ? No, not one. By day, are 
there no Punches, Fantoccini, Dancing Dogs, Jugglers, Conjurers, 
Orchestrinas, or even Barrel-organs ? No, not one. Yes, I 
remember one. One barrel-organ and a dancing monkey — 
sportive by nature, but fast fading into a dull, lumpish monkey, 
of the Utilitarian school. Beyond that, nothing lively ; no, not 
so much as a white mouse in a twirling cage. 

Are there no amusements ? Yes, there is a lecture-room 
across the way, from which that glare of light proceeds, and 
there may be evening service for the ladies thrice a week, or 
oftener. For the young gentlemen there is the counting-house, 
the store, the bar-room ; the latter, as you may see through 
these windows, pretty full. Hark ! to the clinking sound of 
hammers breaking lumps of ice, and to the cool gurgling of the 
pounded bits, as, in the process of mixing, they are poured from 
glass to glass ! No amusements ? "What are these suckers of 
cigars and swallowers of strong drinks, whose hats and legs we 
see in every possible variety of twist, doing, but amusing them- 
selves ? What are the fifty newspapers, which those precocious 
urchins are bawling down the street, and which are kept filed 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 101 

within, what are they hut amusements ? Not vapid, waterish 
amusements, but good strong stuff ; dealing in round abuse and 
blackguard names ; pulling off the roofs of private houses, as 
the Halting Devil did in Spain ; pimping and pandering for all 
degrees of vicious taste, and gorging with coined lies the most 
voracious maw ; imputing to every man in public life the 
coarsest and the vilest motives ; scaring away from the stabbed 
and prostrate body politic every Samaritan of clear conscience 
and good deeds ; and setting on, with yell and whistle, and the 
clapping of foul hands, the vilest vermin and worst birds of 
prej'. — No amusements ! 

Let us go on again ; and passing this wilderness of an hotel 
with stores about its base, like some Continental theatre, or the 
London Opera House shorn of its colonnade, plunge into the 
Five Points. But it is needful, first, that we take as our escort 
these two heads of the police, whom you would know for sharp 
and well-trained officers if you met them in the Great Desert. 
So true it is that certain pursuits, wherever carried on, will 
stamp men with the same character. These two might have 
been begotten, born, and bred in Bow Street. 

We have seen no beggars in the streets by night or day ; but ! 
of other kinds of strollers plenty. Poverty, wretchedness, and \ 
vice are rife enough where we are going now. 

This is the place, these narrow ways, diverging to the right 
and left, and reeking eveiywhere with dirt and filth. Such 
lives as are led here, bear the same fruits here as elsewhere. 
The coarse and bloated faces at the doors have counterparts at\\ — 
home, and all the wide world over. Debauchery has made the 
very houses prematurely old. See how the rotten beams are 
tumbling down, and how the patched and broken windows seem 
to scowl dimly, like eyes that have been hurt in drunken frays. 
Many of those pigs live here. Do they ever wonder why their 
masters walk upright in lieu of going on all-fours? and why 
they talk instead of grunting 1 

So far, nearly everv house is a low tavern ; and on the bar- 



102 AMERICAN NOTES 

?oom walls are coloured prints of Washington, and Queen 
Victoria of England, and the American Eagle. Among the 
pigeon-holes that hold the bottles are pieces of plate glass and 
coloured paper, for there is, in some sort, a taste for decoration 
even here. And, as seamen frequent these haunts, there are 
maritime pictures by the dozen: of partings between sailors 
and their lady loves, portraits of William of the ballad, and his 
Black-Eyed Susan ; of Will Watch, the Bold Smuggler ; of Paul 
Jones the Pirate, and the like : on which the painted eyes of 
Queen Victoria, and of Washington to boot, rest in as strange 
companionship as on most of the scenes that are enacted in 
their wondering presence. 

What place is this, to which the squalid street conducts us ? 
A kind of square of leprous houses, some of which are attainable 
only by crazy wooden stairs without. What lies beyond this 
tottering flight of steps, that creak beneath our tread? — A 
miserable room, lighted by one dim candle, and destitute of all 
comfort, save that which may be hidden in a wretched bed. 
Beside it sits a man : his elbows on his knees : his forehead 
hidden in his hands. "What ails that man?" asks the fore- 
most officer. "Fever," he sullenly replies, without looking up. 
Conceive the fancies of a fevered brain in such a place as this ! 

Ascend these pitch-dark stairs, heedful of a false footing on 
the trembling boards, and grope your way with me into this 
wolfish den, where neither ray of light nor breath of air appears 
to come. A negro lad, startled from his sleep by the officer's 
voice — he knows it well — but comforted by his assurance that 
he has not come on business, officiously bestirs himself to light 
a candle. The match flickers for a moment, and shows great 
mounds of dusky rags upon the ground ; then dies away and 
leaves a denser darkness than before, if there can be degrees in 
such extremes. He stumbles down the stairs, and presently 
comes back, shading a flaring taper with his hand. Then the 
mounds of rags are seen to be astir, and rise slowly up, and the 
floor is covered with heaps of negro women, waking from their 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. I03 

sleep : their white teeth chattering, and their bright eyes glisten- 
ing and winking on all sides with surprise and fear, like the 
countless repetition of one astonished African face in some 
strange mirror. 

Mount up these other stairs with no less caution (there are 
traps and pitfalls here for those who are not so well escorted as 
ourselves) into the housetop ; where the bare beams and rafters 
meet overhead, and calm night looks down through the crevices 
in the roof. Open the door of one of these cramped hutches 
full of sleeping negroes. Pah ! They have a charcoal fire 
within ; there is a smell o£ singeing clothes, . or flesh, so close 
they gather round the brazier ; and vapours issue forth that 
blind and suffocate. From every corner, as you glance about 
you in these dark retreats, some figure crawls half awakened, as 
if the judgment hour were near at hand, and every obscene 
grave were giving up its dead. Where dogs would howl to lie, | , 
women, and men, and boys slink off to sleep, forcing the dis-.J 
lodged rats to move away in quest of better lodgings. 

Here, too, are lanes and alleys, paved with mud knee deep : 
underground chambers, where they dance and game ; the walls 
bedecked with rough designs of ships, and forts, and flags, and 
American Eagles out of number : ruined houses, open to the 
street, whence, through wide gaps in the walls, other ruins loom 
upon the eye, as though the world of vice and misery had 
nothing else to show : hideous tenements which take their name 
from robbery and murder ; all that is loathsome, drooping, and 
decayed is here. 

Our leader has his hand upon the latch of " Almack's," and 
calls to us from the bottom of the steps ; for the assembly-room \ 
of the Five-Point fashionables is approached by a descent. Shall ' 
we go in ? It is but a moment. 

Heyday ! the landlady of Almack's thrives ! A buxom fat 1 
mulatto woman, with sparkling eyes, whose head is daintily <b 
ornamented with a handkerchief of many colours. Nor is the 
landlord much behind her in his finery, being attired in a smart 



104 American notes 

blue jacket, iike a ship's steward, with a thick gold ring upon 
his little finger, and round his neck a gleaming golden watch- 
guard. How glad he is to see us ! What will we please to call 
for? A dance? It shall be done directly, sir: "a regular 
break-down." 

The corpulent black fiddler, and his friend who plays the tam- 
bourine, stamp upon the boarding of the small raised orchestra 
in which they sit, and play a lively measure. Five or six 
couple come upon the floor, marshalled by a lively young negro, 
who is the wit of the assembly, and the greatest dancer known. 
He never leaves off making queer faces, and is the delight of all 
the rest, who grin from ear to ear incessantly. Among the 
dancers are two young mulatto girls, with large, black, drooping 
eyes, and head-gear after the fashion of the hostess, who are as 
shy, or feign to be, as though they never danced before, and so 
look down before the visitors^ that their partners can see nothing 
but the long fringed lashes. 

But the dance commences. Every gentleman sets as long as 
he likes to the opposite lady, and the opposite lady to him, and 
all are so long about it that the sport begins to languish, when 
suddenly the lively hero dashes in to the rescue. Instantly the 
fiddler grins, and goes at it tooth and nail ; there is new energy 
in the tambourine ; new laughter in the dancers ; new smiles in 
the landlady ; new confidence in the landlord ; new brightness 
in the very candles. Single shuffle, double shuffle, cut and 
cross-cut : snapping his fingers, rolling his eyes, turning in his 
knees, presenting the backs of his legs in front, spinning about 
on his toes and heels like nothing but the man's fingers on the 
tambourine ; dancing with two left legs, two right legs, two 
wooden legs, two wire legs, two spring legs — all sorts of legs 
and no legs — what is this to him ? And in what walk of life, 
or dance of life, does man ever get such stimulating applause as 
thunders about him, when~ having danced his partner off her 
feet, and himself too, he finishes by leaping gloriously on the 
bar-counter, and calling for something to drink, with the 



for general circulation. 105 

chuckle of a million of counterfeit Jim Crows, in one inimit- 
able sound ? 

The air, even in these distempered parts, is fresh after the 
stifling atmosphere of the houses ; and now, as we emerge into 
a broader street, it blows upon us with a purer breath, and the 
stars look bright again. Here are The Tombs once more. The"^ 
city watch-house is a part of the building. It follows natu- 
rally on the sights we have just left. Let us see that, and then 
to bed. 

What ! do you thrust your common offenders against the 
police discipline of the town into such holes as these ? Do men 
and women, against whom no crime is proved, lie here all night 
in perfect darkness, surrounded by the noisome vapours which 
encircle that flagging lamp you light us with, and breathing this 
filthy and offensive stench ? Why, such indecent and disgusting 
dungeons as these cells would bring disgrace upon the most 
despotic empire in the world ! Look at them, man — you, who 
see them every night, and keep the keys. Do you see what 
they are ? Do you know how drains are made below the streets, 
and wherein these human sewers differ, except in being always 
stagnant ? 

Well, he don't know. He has had five-and-twenty young 
women locked up in this very cell at one time, and you'd hardly 
realise what handsome faces there were among 'em. 

In God's name ! shut the door upon the wretched creature 
who is in it now, and put its screen before a place quite unsur- 
passed in all the vice, neglect, and devilry of the worst old town 
in Europe. 

Are people really left all night, untried, in those black sties ? 
— Every night. The watch is set at seven in the evening. 
The magistrate opens his court at five in the morning. That 
is the earliest hour at which the first prisoner can be released ; 
and if an officer appear against him, he is not taken out 
till nine o'clock or ten. — But if any one among them die in 
the interval, as one man did not long ago ? Then he is half 



106 AMERICAN NOTES 

eaten by the rats in an hour's time, as that man was ; and thera 
an end. 

What is this intolerable tolling of great bells, and crashing of 
wheels, and shouting in the distance ? A fire. And what that 
deep red light in the opposite direction ? Another fire. And 
what these charred and blackened walls we stand before ? A 
dwelling where a fire has been. It was more than hinted, in an 
official report, not long ago, that some of these conflagrations 
were not wholly accidental, and that speculation and enterprise 
found a field of exertion, even in flames : but, be this as it may, 
there was a fire last night, there are two to-night, and you may 
lay an even wager there will be at least one to-morrow. So, 
carrying that with us for our comfort, let us say, Good night, 
and climb up-stairs to bed. 



One day, during my stay in New York, I paid a visit to the 
different public institutions on Long Island, or Khode Island : I 
forget which. One of them is a Lunatic Asylum. The building 
is handsome ; and is remarkable for a spacious and elegant stair- 
case. The whole structure is not yet finished, but it is already 
one of considerable size and extent, and is capable of accommo- 
dating a very large number of patients. 

I cannot say that I derived much comfort from the inspection 
of this charity. The different wards might have been cleaner 
and better ordered ; I saw nothing of that salutary system which 
had impressed me so favourably elsewhere ; and everything had 
a lounging, listless, madhouse air, which was very painful. The 
moping idiot, cowering down with long dishevelled hair ; the 
gibbering maniac, with his hideous laugh and pointed finger ; 
the vacant eye, the fierce wild face, the gloomy picking of the 
hands and lips, and munching of the nails : there they were all, 
without disguise, in naked ugliness and horror. In the dining- 
room, a bare, dull, dreary place, with nothing for the eye to rest 
on but the r mpty walls, a woman was locked up alone. She 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 107 

was bent, they told me, on committing suicide. If anything 
could have strengthened her in her resolution, it would certainly 
have been the insupportable monotony of such an existence. 

The terrible crowd with which these halls and galleries were 
filled so shocked me, that I abridged my stay within the shortest 
limits, and declined to see that portion of the building in which 
the refractory and violent were under closer restraint. I have 
no doubt that the gentleman who presided over this establish- 
ment at the time I write of, was competent to manage it, and 
had done all in his power to promote its usefulness : but will it 
be believed that the miserable strife of Party feeling is carried 
even into this sad refuge of afflicted and degraded humanity ? 
Will it be believed that the eyes which are to watch over and 
control the wanderings of minds on which the most dreadful 
visitation to which our nature is exposed has fallen, must wear 
the glasses of some wretched side in Politics ? Will it be 
believed that the governor of such a house as this is appointed, 
and deposed, and changed perpetually, as Parties fluctuate and 
vary, and as their despicable weather-cocks are blown this way 
or that ? A hundred times in every week, some new most paltry 
exhibition of that narrow-minded and injurious Party Spirit 
which is the Simoom of America, sickening and blighting every- 
thing of wholesome life within its reach, was forced upon my 
notice ; but I never turned my back upon it with feelings of 
such deep disgust and measureless contempt as when I crossed 
the threshold of this madhouse. 

At a short distance from this building is another called the 
Alms House, that is to say, the workhouse of New York. This 
is a large institution also : lodging, I believe, when I was there, 
nearly a thousand poor. It was badly ventilated, and badly 
lighted ; was not too clean ; and impressed me, on the whole, 
very uncomfortably. But it must be remembered that New 
York, as a great emporium of commerce, and as a place of 
general resort, not only from all parts of the States, but from 
most parts of the world, has always a large pauper population to 



iqS American notes 

provide for ; and labours, therefore, under peculiar difficulties in 
this respect. Nor must it be forgotten that New York is a large 
town, and that in all large towns a vast amount of good and 
evil is, intermixed and jumbled up together. 

In the same neighbourhood is the Farm, where young orphans 
are nursed and bred. I did not see it, but I believe it is Avell 
conducted ; and I can the more easily credit it, from knowing 
how mindful they usually are, in America, of that beautiful 
passage in the Litany which remembers all sick persons and 
young children. 

I was taken to these Institutions by water, in a boat belonging 
to the Island Gaol, and rowed by a crew of prisoners, who were 
dressed in a striped uniform of black and buff, in which they 
looked like faded tigers. They took me, by the same convey- 
ance, to the Gaol itself. 

It is an old prison, and quite a pioneer establishment, on the 
plan I have already described. I was glad to hear this, for it is 
unquestionably a very indifferent one. The most is made, how- 
ever, of the means it possesses, and it is as well regulated as 
such a place can be. 

The women worked in covered sheds erected for that purpose. 
If I remember right, there are no shops for the men ; but, be 
that as it may, the greater part of them labour in certain stone 
quarries near at hand. The day being very wet indeed, this 
labour was suspended, and the prisoners were in their cells. 
Imagine these cells, some two or three hundred in number, and 
in every one a man locked up ; this one at his door for air, with 
his hands thrust through the grate ; this one in bed (in the 
middle of the day, remember-) ; and this one flung down in a 
heap upon the ground, with his head against the bars, like a 
wild beast. Make the rain pour down, outside, in torrents. 
Put the everlasting stove in the midst ; hot, and suffocating, 
and vaporous as a witch's cauldron. Add a collection of 
gentle odours, such as would arise from a thousand mil- 
dewed umbrellas, wet through, and a thousand buck-baskets, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 109 

full of half-washed linen — and there is the prison as it was 
that day. 

The prison for the State at Sing Sing is, on the other hand, a 
model gaol. That, and Auhurn, are, I believe, the largest and 
best examples of the silent system. 

In another part of the city is the Kefuge for the Destitute : 
an Institution whose object is to reclaim youthful offenders, 
male and female, black and white, without distinction ; to teach 
them useful trades, apprentice them to respectable masters, and 
make them worthy members of society. Its design, it will be 
seen, is similar to that at Boston ; and it is a no less meritorious 
and admirable establishment. A suspicion crossed my mind 
during my inspection of this noble charity, whether the super- 
intendent had quite sufficient knowledge of the world and 
worldly characters ; and whether he did not commit a great 
mistake in treating some young girls, who were to all intents 
and purposes, by their years and their past lives, women, as 
though they were little children ; which certainly had a ludicrous 
effect in my eyes, and, or I am much mistaken, in theirs also. 
As the Institution, however, is always under the vigilant exami- 
nation of a body of gentlemen of great intelligence and experi- 
ence, it cannot fail to be well conducted ; and whether I am 
right or wrong in this slight particular is unimportant to its 
deserts and character, which it would be difficult to estimate 
too highly. 

In addition to these establishments, there are, in New York, 
excellent hospitals and schools, literary institutions and libraries ; 
an admirable fire department (as, indeed, it should be, having 
constant practice), and charities of every sort and kind. In 
the suburbs there is a spacious cemetery : unfinished yet, but 
every day improving. The saddest tomb I saw there was 
" The Strangers' Grave. Dedicated to the different hotels in 
this city." 

There are three principal theatres. Two of them, the Park 
and the Bowery, are large, elegant, and handsome buildings, and 



IIG AMERICAN NOTES 

are, I grieve to write it, generally deserted. The third, the 
Olympic, is a tiny show-box for vaudevilles and burlesques. It 
is singularly well conducted by Mr. Mitchell, a comic actor of 
great quiet humour and originality, who is well remembered 
and esteemed by London play-goers. I am happy to report of 
this deserving gentleman, that his benches are usually well filled, 
and that his theatre rings with merriment every night. I had 
almost forgotten a small summer theatre, called Niblo's, with 
gardens and open-air amusements attached ; but I believe it is 
not exempt from the general depression under which Theatrical 
Property, or what is humorously called by that name, unfortu- 
nately labours. 

The country around New York is surpassingly and exqui- 
sitely picturesque. The climate, as I have already intimated, 
is somewhat of the warmest. What it would be without the 
sea breezes which come from its beautiful Bay in the evening- 
time, I will not throw myself or my readers into a fever by 
inquiring. 

The tone of the best society in this city is like that of Boston ; 
here and there, it may be, with a greater infusion of the mer- 
cantile spirit, but generally polished and refined, and always 
most hospitable. The houses and tables are elegant ; the hours 
later and more rakish ; and there is, perhaps, a greater spirit of 
contention in reference to appearances, and the display of wealth 
and costly living. The ladies are singularly beautiful. 

Before I left New York I made arrangements for securing a 
passage home in the George Washington packet-ship, which was 
advertised to sail in June ; that being the month in which I had 
determined, if prevented by no accident in the course of my 
ramblings, to leave America. 

I never thought that going back to England, returning to all 
who are dear to me, and to pursuits that have insensibly grown 
to be part of my nature, I could have felt so much sorrow as I 
endured when I parted at last, on board this ship, with the 
friends who had accompanied me from this. city. I never 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. Ill 

thought the name of any place so far away, and so lately known, 
could ever associate itself in my mind with the crowd of affec- 
tionate remembrances that now cluster about it. There are 
those in this city who would brighten, to me, the darkest winter 
day that ever glimmered and went out in Lapland ; and before 
whose presence even Home grew dim, when they and I exchanged 
that painful word which mingles with our every thought and 
deed ; which haunts our cradle-heads in infancy, and closes up 
the vista of our lives in age. 



CHAPTER VII. 

PHILADELPHIA, AND ITS SOLITARY PRISON. 

r | A HE journey from New York to Philadelphia is made by rail- 
-*- road, and two ferries ; and usually occupies between five 
and six hours. It was a fine evening when we were passengers 
in the train : and watching the bright sunset from a little 
window near the door by which we sat, my attention was 
attracted to a remarkable appearance issuing from the windows 
of the gentlemen's car immediately in front of us, which I 
supposed for some time was occasioned by a number of indus- 
trious persons inside ripping open feather beds, and giving the 
feathers to the wind. At length it occurred to me that they 
were only spitting, which was indeed the case; though how 
any number of passengers which it was possible for that car to 
contain could have maintained such a playful and incessant 
shower of expectoration, I am still at a loss to understand : 
notwithstanding the experience in all salivatory phenomena 
which I afterwards acquired. 

I made acquaintance, on this journey, with a mild and modest 
young Quaker, who opened the discourse by informing me, in 
a grave whisper, that his grandfather was the inventor of cold- 
drawn castor oil. I mention the circumstance here, thinking it 
probable that this is the first occasion on which the valuable 
medicine in question was ever used as a conversational aperient. 

We reached the city late that night. Looking out of my 
chamber window before going to bed, I saw, on the opposite 
side of the way, a handsome building of white marble, which 
had a mournful, ghost-like aspect, dreary to behold. I attri- 



FOR GenerAl cSircSuIAtion. 1 13 

buteu this to the sombre influence of the night, and, on rising 
in the morning, looked out again, expecting to see its steps and 
portico thronged with groups of people passing in and out. The 
door was still tight shut, however ; the same cold, cheerless air 
prevailed; and the" building looked as if the marble statue of Don 
Guzman could alone have any business to transact within its 
gloomy Avails. I hastened to inquire its name and purpose, and 
then my surprise vanished. It was the Tomb of many fortunes ; 
the Great Catacomb of investment ; the memorable United 
States Bank. 

The stoppage of this bank, with all its ruinous consequences, 
had cast (as I was told on every side) a gloom on Philadelphia, 
under the depressing effect of which it yet laboured. It certainly 
did seem rather dull and out of spirits. 

It is a handsome city, but distractingly regular. After 
walking about it for an hour or two, I felt that I would have 
given the world for a crooked street. The collar of my coat 
appeared to stiffen, and the brim of my hat to expand, beneath 
its Quakerly influence. My hair shrunk into a sleek short crop, 
my hands folded themselves upon my breast of their own calm 
accord, and thoughts of taking lodgings in Mark Lane over 
against the Market-place, and of making a large fortune by 
speculations in corn, came over me involuntarily. 

Philadelphia is most bountifully provided with fresh water, 
which is showered and jerked about, and turned on, and poured 
off everywhere. The AVater-works, which are on a height near 
the city, are no less ornamental than useful, being tastefully 
laid out as a public garden, and kept in the best and neatest 
order. The river is dammed at this point, and forced by its own 
power into certain high tanks or reservoirs, whence the whole 
city, to the top stories of the houses, is supplied at a very 
trifling expense. 

There are various public institutions. Among them a most 
excellent Hospital — a Quaker establishment, but not sectarian 
in the great benefits it confers ; a quiet, quaint old Library, 



114 AMERICAN NOTES 

named after franklin ; a handsome Exchange and Post Office ; 
and so forth. In connection with the Quaker Hospital there 
is a picture by West, which is exhibited for the benefit of the 
funds of the Institution. The subject is our Saviour healing 
the sick, and it is, perhaps, as favourable a specimen of the 
master as can be seen anywhere. Whether this be high or low 
praise, depends upon the reader's taste. 

In the same room there is a very characteristic and lifelike 
portrait by Mr. Sully, a distinguished American artist. 

My stay in Philadelphia was very short, but what I saw of 
its society I greatly liked. Treating of its general character- 
istics, I should be disposed to say that it is more provincial than 
Boston or New York, and that there is afloat in the fair- city 
an assumption of taste and criticism, savouring rather of those 
genteel discussions upon the same, themes, in connection with 
Shakspeare and the Musical Glasses, of which we read in 
the Vicar of Wakefield. Near the city is a most splendid 
unfinished marble structure for the Girard College, founded by 
a deceased gentleman of that name, and of enormous wealth, 
which, if completed according to the original design, will be 
perhaps the richest edifice of modern times. But the bequest 
is involved in legal disputes, and pending them the work has 
stopped ; so that, like many other great undertakings in America, 
even this is rather going to be done one of these days than 
doing now. 

In the outskirts stands a great prison, called the Eastern 
Penitentiary : conducted on a plan peculiar to the State of 
Pennsylvania. The system here is rigid, strict, and hopeless 
solitary confinement. I believe it, in its effects, to be cruel 
and wrong. 

In its intention I am well convinced that it is kind, humane, 
and meant for reformation ; but I am persuaded that those who 
devised this system of Prison Discipline, and those benevolent 
gentlemen who carry it into execution, do not know what it is 
that the}' are doing. I believe that very few men are capable 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 115 

of estimating the immense amount of torture and agony which 
this dreadful punishment, prolonged for years, inflicts upon the 
sufferers ; and in guessing at it myself, and in reasoning from 
what I have seen written upon their faces, and what to my 
certain knowledge they feel within, I am only the more con- 
vinced that there is a depth of terrible endurance in it which 
none but the sufferers themselves can fathom, and which no 
man has a right to inflict upon his fellow-creature. I hold this 
slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be 
immeasurably worse than any torture of the body : and because 
its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye and 
sense of touch as scars upon the flesh ; because its wounds are 
not upon the surface, and it extorts few cries that human ears 
can hear ; therefore I the more denounce it, as a secret punish- 
ment which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay. I 
hesitated once, debating with myself whether, if I had the 
power of saying " Yes " or " No," I would allow it to be tried 
in certain cases, where the terms of imprisonment were short ; 
but now I solemnly declare, that with no rewards or honours 
could I walk a happy man beneath the open sky by day, or lay 
me down upon my bed at night, with the consciousness that one 
human creature, for any length of time, no matter what, lay 
suffering this unknown punishment in his silent cell, and I the 
cause, or I consenting to it in the least degree. 

I was accompanied to this prison by two gentlemen officially 
connected with its management, and passed the day in going 
from cell to cell, and talking with the inmates. Every facility 
was afforded me that the utmost courtesy could suggest. 
Nothing was concealed or hidden from my view, and every 
piece of information that I sought was openly and frankly 
given. The perfect order of the building cannot be praised 
too highly, and of the excellent motives of all who are imme- 
diately concerned in the administration of the system there can 
be no kind of question. 

Between the body of .the prison and the outer wall there is n. 

I 2 



1 1 6 AMERICAN NOtEg 

spacious garden. Entering it by a wicket in the massive gate, 
we pursued the path before us to its other termination, and 
passed into a large chamber, from which seven long passages 
radiate. On either side of each is a, long, long row of low cell 
doors, with a certain number over every one. Above, a gallery 
of cells like those below, except that they have no narrow yard 
attached (as those in the ground tier have), and are somewhat 
smaller. The possession of two of these is supposed to com- 
pensate for the absence of so much air and exercise as can be 
had in the dull strip attached to each of the others, in an 
hour's time every day ; and therefore every prisoner in this 
upper story has two cells, adjoining, and communicating with, 
each other. 

Standing at the central point, and looking down these dreary 
passages, the dull repose and quiet that prevails is awful. 
Occasionally there is a drowsy sound from some lone weaver's 
shuttle, or shoemaker's last, but it is stifled by the thick walls 
and heavy dungeon door, and only serves to make the general 
stillness more profound. Over the head and face of every 
prisoner who comes into this melancholy house a black hood is 
drawn ; and in this dark shroud, an emblem of the curtain 
dropped between him and the living world, he is led to the cell 
from which he never again comes forth until his whole term of 
imprisonment has expired. He never hears of wife or children ; 
home or friends ; the life or death of any single creature. He 
sees the prison officers, but, with that exception, he never looks 
upon a human countenance, or hears a human voice. He is a 
man buried alive ; to be dug out in the slow round of years ; 
and in the meantime dead to everything but torturing anxieties 
and horrible despair. 

His name, and crime, and term of suffering are unknown, 
even to the officer who delivers him his daily food. There is a 
number over his cell door, and in a book of which the governor 
of the prison has one copy, and the moral instructor another : 
this is the index to his history. Beyond these pages the prison 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. I 17 

has no record of his existence : and though he live to be in the 
same cell ten weary years, he has no means of knowing, down 
to the very last hour, in what part of the building it is situated ; 
what kind of men there are about him ; whether in the long- 
winter nights there are living people near, or he is in some 
lonely corner of the great gaol, with walls, and passages, and 
iron doors between him and the nearest sharer in its solitary 
horrors. 

Every cell has double doors : the outer one of sturdy oak, 
the other of grated iron, wherein there is a trap through which 
his food is handed. He has a Bible, and a slate and pencil, 
and, under certain restrictions, has sometimes other books, 
provided for the purpose, and pen and ink and paper. His 
razor, plate, and can, and basin hang upon the wall, or shine 
upon the little shelf. Fresh water is laid on in every cell, and 
he can draw it at his pleasure. During the day, his bedstead 
turns up against the wall, and leaves more space for him to 
work in. His loom, or bench, or wheel is there ; and there he 
labours, sleeps and wakes, and counts the seasons as they 
change, and grows old. 

The first man I saw was seated at his loom, at work. He 
had been there six years, and was to remain, I think, three 
more. He had been convicted as a receiver of stolen goods, 
but even after this long imprisonment denied his guilt, and 
said he had been hardly dealt by. It was his second offence. 

He stopped his work when we went in, took off his spectacles, 
and answered freely to everything that was said to him, but 
always with a strange kind of pause first, and in a low, thought- 
ful voice. He wore a paper hat of his own making, and was 
pleased to have it noticed and commended. He had very 
ingeniously manufactured a sort of Dutch clock from some dis- 
regarded odds and ends ; and his vinegar bottle served for the 
pendulum. Seeing me interested in this contrivance, he looked 
up at it with a great deal of pride, and said that he had been 
thinking of improving it, and that, he hoped the hammer and a 



Il8 AMERICAN NOTES 

little piece of broken glass beside it " would play music before 
long." He had extracted some colours from the yarn with 
which he worked, and painted a few poor figures on the wall. 
One, of a female, over the door, he called " The Lady of the 
Lake." 

He smiled as I looked at these contrivances to while away 
the time ; but, when I looked from them to him, I saw that 
his lip trembled, and could have counted the beating of his 
heart. I forget how it came about, but some allusion was made 
to his having a wife. He shook his head at the word, turned 
aside, and covered his face with his hands. 

"But you are resigned now?" said one of the gentlemen 
after a short pause, during which he had resumed his former 
manner. He answered with a sigh that seemed quite reckless 
in its hopelessness, " Oh yes, oh yes ! I am resigned to it." 
" And are a better man, you think ?" " Well, I hope so : I'm 
sure I hope I may be." " And time goes pretty quickly ?" 
"Time is very long, gentlemen, within these four walls !" 

He gazed about him — Heaven only knows how wearily ! — 
as he said these words ; and, in the act of doing so, fell into a 
strange stare as if he had forgotten something. A moment 
afterwards he sighed heavily, put on his spectacles, and went 
about his work again. 

In another cell there was a German, sentenced to five years' 
imprisonment for larceny, two of which had just expired. With 
colours procured in the same manner, he had painted every 
inch of the walls and ceiling quite beautifully. He had laid 
out the few feet of ground behind with exquisite neatness, and 
had made a little bed in the centre, that looked, by-the-bye, 
like a grave. The taste and ingenuity he had displayed in 
everything were most extraordinary ; and yet a more dejected, 
heart-broken, wretched creature it would be difficult to imagine. 
I never saw such a picture of forlorn affliction and distress of 
mind. My heart bled for him ; and when the tears ran down 
his cheeks, and he took one of the visitors aside, to ask, with 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 19 

his trembling hands nervously clutching at his coat to detain 
him, whether there was no hope of his dismal sentence being 
commuted, the spectacle was really too painful to witness. Ir 
never saw or heard of any kind of misery that impressed me \" 
more than the wretchedness of this man. ' 

In a third cell was a tall, strong black, a burglar, working at 
his proper trade of making screws and the like. His time was 
nearly out. He was not only a very dexterous thief, but was 
notorious for his boldness and hardihood, and for the number 
of his previous convictions. He entertained us with a long 
account of his achievements, which he narrated with such 
infinite relish, that he actually seemed to lick his lips as he 
told us racy anecdotes of stolen plate, and of old ladies whom 
he had watched as they sat at windows in silver spectacles (he 
had plainly had an eye to their metal, even from the other side 
of the street), and had afterwards robbed. This fellow, upon 
the slightest encouragement, would have mingled with his 
professional recollections the most detestable cant ; but I am 
very much mistaken if he could have surpassed the unmitigated 
hypocrisy with which he declared that he blessed the day on 
which he came into that prison, and that he never would 
commit another robbery as long as he lived. 

There was one man who was allowed, as an indulgence, to 
keep rabbits. His room having rather a close smell in conse- 
quence, they called to him at the door to come out into the 
passage. He complied, of course, and stood shading his hag- 
gard face in the unwonted sun-light of the great window, 
looking as wan and unearthly as if he had been summoned 
from the grave. He had a white rabbit in his breast ; and 
when the little creature, getting down upon the ground, stole 
back into the cell, and he, being dismissed, crept timidly after «■ 
it, I thought it would have been very hard to say in what 
respect the man was the nobler animal of the two. 

There was an English thief, who had been there but a few 
days out of seven years : a villainous, low-browed, thin-lipped 



120 AMERICAN NOTES 

fellow, with a white face ; who had as yet no relish for visitors, 
and who, but for the additional penalty, would have gladly 
stabbed rne with his shoemaker's knife. There was another 
German who had entered the gaol but yesterday, and who 
started from his bed when we looked in, and pleaded, in his 
broken English, very hard for work. There was a poet, who, 
after doing two days' work in every four-and-twenty hours, one 
for himself and one for the prison, wrote verses about ships (he 
was by trade a mariner), and the " maddening wine-cup," and 
his friends at home. There were very many of them. Some 
reddened at the sight of visitors, and some turned very pale. 
Some two or three had prisoner nurses with them, for they were 
very sick, and one, a fat old negro, whose leg had been taken 
off within the gaol, had for his attendant a classical scholar and 
an accomplished surgeon, himself a prisoner likewise. Sitting 
upon the stairs, engaged in some slight work, was a pretty 
% coloured boy. " Is there no refuge for young criminals in 
I Philadelphia, then?" said I. "Yes, but only for white 
| children." Noble aristocracy in crime ! 

There was a sailor who had been there upwards of eleven 
years, and who in a few months' time would be free. Eleven 
years of solitary confinement ! 

" I am very glad to hear your time is nearly out." What 
does he say ? Nothing. Why does he stare at his hands, and 
pick the flesh upon his fingers, and raise his eyes for an instant, 
every now and then, to those bare walls which have seen his 
head turn grey ? It is a way he has sometimes. 

Does he never look men in the face, and does he always 
pluck at those hands of his, as though he were bent on parting 
skin and bone ? It is his humour : nothing more. 

It is his humour, too, to say that he does not look for- 
ward to going out ; that he is not glad the time is drawing 
near; that he did look forward to it once, but that was 
very long ago ; that he has lost all care for everything. It 
js his humour to be a helpless, crushed, and broken man. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 12 l 

And, Heaven be his witness that he has his humour thoroughly 
gratified ! 

There were three young women in adjoining cells, all con- 
victed at the same time of a conspiracy to rob their prosecutor. 
Tn the silence and solitude of their lives they had grown to be 
quite beautiful. Their looks were very sad, and might have 
moved the sternest visitor to tears, but not to that kind of 
sorrow which the contemplation of the men awakens. One was 
a young girl ; not twenty, as I recollect ; whose snow-white 
room was hung with the work of some former prisoner, and 
upon whose downcast face the sun in all its splendour shone 
down through the high chink in the wall, where one narrow 
strip of bright blue sky was visible. She was very penitent 
and quiet ; had come to be resigned, she said (and I believe 
her) ; and had a mind at peace. "In a word, you are happy 
here?" said one of my companions. She struggled — she did 
struggle very hard — to answer, Yes : but raising her eyes, and 
meeting that glimpse of freedom overhead, she burst into tears, 
and said, " She tried to be ; she uttered no complaint ; but it 
was natural that she should sometimes long to go out of that 
one cell : she could not help that," she sobbed, poor thing ! 

I went from cell to cell that day ; and every face I saw, or 
word I heard, or incident I noted, is present to my mind in all 
its painfulness. But let me pass them by, for one, more 
pleasant, glance of a prison on the same plan which I after- 
wards saw at Pittsburg. 

When I had gone over that in the same manner, I asked the 
governor if he had any person in his charge who was shortly 
going out. He had one, he said, whose time was up next day ; 
but he had only been a prisoner two years. 

Two years ! I looked back through two years in my own 
life — out of gaol, prosperous, happy, surrounded by blessings, 
comforts, and good fortune — and thought how wide a gap it 
was, and how long those two years passed in solitary captivity 
would have been, I have the face of this man, who was going 



122 AMERICAN NOTES 

to be released next day, before me now. It is almost more 
memorable in its happiness than the other faces in their misery. 
How easy and how natural it was for him to say that the system 
was a good one ; and that the time went " pretty quick — con- 
sidering ; " and that when a man once felt he had offended the 
law, and must satisfy it, " he got along somehow;" and so forth! 

" What did he call you back to say to you, in that strange 
flutter ? " I asked of my conductor, when he had locked the 
door and joined me in the passage. 

" Oh ! That he was afraid the soles of his boots were not fit 
for walking, as they were a good deal worn when he came in ; 
and that he would thank me very much to have them mended 
ready." 

Those boots had been taken off his feet, and put away with 
the rest of his clothes, two years before ! 

I took that opportunity of inquiring how they conducted 
themselves immediately before going out ; adding that I pre- 
sumed they trembled very much. 

" Well, it's not so much a trembling," was the answer — 
T< though they do quiver — as a complete derangement of the 
nervous system. They can't sign their names to the book ; 
sometimes can't even hold the pen ; look about 'em without 
appearing to know why, or where they are ; and sometimes get 
up and sit down again twenty times in a minute. This is when 
they're in the office, where they are taken with the hood on as 
they were brought in. When they get outside the gate, they 
stop, and look first one way and then the other : not knowing 
which to take. Sometimes they stagger as if they were drunk, 
and sometimes are forced to lean against the fence, they're so 
bad : — but they clear off in course of time." 

As I walked among these solitary cells, and looked at the 
faces of the men within them, I tried to picture to myself the 
thoughts and feelings natural to their condition. I imagined 
the hood just taken off, and the scene of their captivity disclosed 
to them in all its dismal monotony. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 23 

At first the man is stunned. His confinement is a hideous 
vision ; and his old life a reality. He throws himself upon his 
bed, and lies there abandoned to despair. By degrees the insup- 
portable solitude and barrenness of the place rouses him from 
this stupor, and when the trap in his grated door is opened, he 
humbly begs and prays for work. " Give me some work to do, 
or I shall go raving mad ! " 

He has it ; and by fits and starts applies himself to labour ; 
but every now and then there comes upon him a burning sense 
of the years that must be wasted in that stone coffin, and. an 
agony so piercing in the recollection of those who are hidden 
from his view and knowledge, that he starts from his seat, and, 
striding up and down the narrow room with both hands clasped 
on his uplifted head, hears spirits tempting him to beat his 
brains out on the wall. 

Again he falls upon his bed, and lies there moaning. Sud- 
denly he starts up, wondering whether any other man is near ; 
whether there is another cell like that on either side of him ; 
and listens keenly. 

There is no sound, but other prisoners may be near for all that. 
He remembers to have heard once, when he little thought of 
coming here himself, that the cells were so constructed that the 
prisoners could not hear each other, though the officers could 
hear them. Where is the nearest man — upon the right, or on 
the left? or is there one in both directions? Where is he 
sitting now — with his face to the light ? or is he walking to 
and fro ? How is he dressed ? Has he been here long ? Is 
he much worn away ? Is he very white and spectre-like ? 
Does he think of his neighbour too ? 

Scarcely venturing to breathe, and listening while he thinks, 
he conjures up a figure with his back towards him, and imagines 
it moving about in this next cell. He has no idea of the face, 
but he is certain of the dark form of a stooping man. In the 
cell upon the other side he puts another figure, whose face is 
hidden from him also, Day after day, and often when he wake > 



124 AMERICAN NOTES 

up in the middle of the night, he thinks of these two men 
until he is almost distracted. He never changes them. There 
they are always as he first imagined them — an old man on the 
right ; a younger man upon the left — whose hidden features 
torture him to death, and have a mystery that makes him 
tremble. 

The weary days pass on with solemn pace, like mourners at a 
funeral ; and slowly he begins to feel that the white walls of the 
cell have something dreadful in them : that their colour is 
horrible : that their smooth surface chills his blood : that there 
is one hateful corner which torments him. Every morning, 
when he wakes, he hides his head beneath the coverlet, and 
shudders to see the ghastly ceiling looking down upon him. 
The blessed light of day itself peeps in, an ugly phantom face, 
through the unchangeable crevice which is his prison window. 

By slow but sure degrees, the terrors of that hateful corner 
swell until they beset him at all times ; invade his rest, make 
his dreams hideous, and his nights dreadful. At first he took 
a strange dislike to it : feeling as though it gave birth in his 
brain to something of corresponding shape, which ought not to 
be there, and racked his head with pains. Then he began to 
fear it, then to dream of it, and of men whispering its name and 
pointing to it. Then, he could not bear to look at it, nor yet to 
turn his back upon it. Now, it is every night the lurking- 
place of a ghost : a shadow : — a silent something, horrible to 
see, but whether bird, or beast, or muffled human shape, he 
cannot tell. 

When he is in his cell by day, he fears the little yard without. 
When he is in the yard, he dreads to re-enter the cell. When 
night comes, there stands the phantom in the corner. If he 
have the courage to stand in its place, and drive it out (he had 
once : being desperate), it broods upon his bed. In the twilight,, 
and always at the same hour, a voice calls to him by name ; as 
the darkness thickens, his Loom begins to live ; and even that, 
his comfort, is a hjdepus figure, watching him till daybreak^ 




THE SOLITARY PRISONER 



FOR &£XERAL CIRCULATION. 125 

Again, by slow degrees, these horrible fancies depart from 
him one by one ; returning sometimes unexpectedly, but at 
longer intervals, and in less alarming shapes. He has talked 
upon religious matters with the gentleman who visits him, and 
has read his Bible, and has written a prayer upon his slate, and 
hung it up as a kind of protection, and an assurance of Heavenly 
companionship. He dreams now, sometimes, of his children or 
his wife, but is sure that they are dead, or have deserted him. 
He is easily moved to tears.; is gentle, submissive, and broken - 
'spirited. Occasionally the old agony comes back : a very little 
thing will revive it : even a familiar sound, or the scent of summer 
flowers in the air ; but it does not last long now : for the world 
without has come to be the vision, and this solitary life the sad 
reality. — ' 

If his term of imprisonment be short — I mean comparatively, 
for short it cannot be — the last half-year is almost worse than 
all ; for then he thinks the prison will take fire, and he be burnt 
in the ruins, or that he is doomed to die within the walls, or 
that he will be detained on some false charge, and sentenced for 
another term : or that something, no matter what, must happen 
to prevent his going at large. And this is natural, and impos- 
sible to be reasoned against, because, after his long separation ■> 
from human life, and his great suffering, any event will appear I 
to him more probable in the contemplation than the being 
restored to liberty and his fellow-creatures. *-r ~\ 

If his period of confinement have been very long, the pros- 
pect of release bewilders and confuses him. His broken heart 
may flutter for a moment, when he thinks of the world outside, 
and what it might have been to him in all those lonely years, 
but that is all. The cell door has been closed too long on all 
its hopes and cares. Better to have hanged him in the begin- 
ning than bring him to this pass, and send him forth to mingle 
with his kind, who are his kind no more. 

On the haggard face of every man among these prisoners 
the same expression sat. I know not what to liken it to. It 



126 AMERICAN NOTES 

had something of that strained attention which we see upon the 
faces of the blind and deaf, mingled with a kind of horror, as 
though they had ' all been secretly terrified. In every little 
chamber that I entered, and at every grate through which I 
looked, I seemed to see the same appalling countenance. It 
lives in my memory, with the fascination of a remarkable 
picture. Parade before my eyes a hundred men, with one 
among them newly released from this, solitary suffering, and I 
would point him out. 

The faces of the women, as I have said, it humanises and 
refines. Whether this be because of their better nature, which 
is elicited in solitude, or because of their being gentler creatures, 
of greater patience and longer suffering, I do not know ; but so 
it is. That the punishment is nevertheless, to my thinking, 
fully as cruel and as wrong in their case as in that of the men, 
I need scarcely add. 

My firm conviction is that, independent of the mental anguish 
it occasions — an anguish so acute and so tremendous, that all 
imagination of it must fall far short of the reality — it wears the 
mind into a morbid state, which renders it unfit for the rough 
contact and busy action of the world. It is my fixed opinion 
that those who have undergone this punishment must pass into 
society again morally unhealthy and diseased. There are many 
instances on record of men who have chosen, or have been 
condemned, to lives of perfect solitude, but I scarcely remember 
one, even among sages of strong and vigorous intellect, where 
its effect has not become apparent, in some disordered train 
of thought, or some gloomy hallucination. What monstrous 
phantoms, bred of despondency and doubt, and born and reared 
in solitude, have stalked upon the earth, making creation ugly, 
and darkening the face of Heaven ! 

Suicides are rare among these prisoners : are almost, indeed, 
unknown. But no argument in favour of the system can reason- 
ably be deduced from this circumstance, although it is very 
often urged. All men who have made diseases of the mind 



for General circulation. 127 

their study, know perfectly well that such extreme depression 
and despair as will change the whole character, and beat down 
all its powers of elasticity and self-resistance, may be at work 
within a man, and yet stop short of self-destruction. This is a 
common case. 

That it makes the senses dull, and by degrees impairs the 
bodily faculties, I am quite sure. I remarked to those who 
were with me in this very establishment at Philadelphia, that 
the criminals who had been there long were deaf. They, who 
were in the habit of seeing these men constantly, were perfectly 
amazed at the idea, which they regarded as groundless and fanci- 
ful. And yet the very first prisoner to whom they appealed — 
one of their own selection — confirmed my impression (which 
was unknown, to him) instantly, and said, with a genuine air it 
was impossible to doubt, that he couldn't think how it happened, 
but he was growing very dull of hearing. 

That it is a singularly unequal punishment, and affects the 
worst man least, there is no doubt. In its superior efficiency 
as a means of reformation, compared with that other code of 
regulations which allows the prisoners to work in company with- 
out communicating together, I have not the smallest faith. All 
the instances of reformation that were mentioned to me were of 
a kind that might have been — and I have no doubt whatever, 
in my own mind, would have been — equally well brought about 
by the Silent System. With regard to such men as the negro 
burglar and the English thief, even the most enthusiastic have 
scarcely any hope of their conversion. 

It seems to me that the objection that nothing wholesome or 
good has ever had its growth in such unnatural solitude, and 1 
that even a dog, or any of the more intelligent among beasts, 
would pine, and mope, and rust away beneath its influence, 
would be in itself a sufficient argument against this system. 
But when we recollect, in addition, how very cruel and severe 
it is, and that a solitary life is always liable to peculiar and 
distinct objections . of a most deplorable nature, which have 



12& AMerIcaM NoteS 

arisen here ; and call to mind, moreover, that the choice is not 
between this system and a bad or ill-considered one, but between 
it and another which has worked well, and is, in its whole 
design and practice, excellent ; there is surely more than suffi- 
cient reason for abandoning a mode of punishment attended by 
so little hope or promise, and fraught, beyond dispute, with such 
a host of evils. 

As a relief to its contemplation, I will close this chapter with 
a curious story, arising out of the same theme, which was related 
to me, on the occasion of this visit, by some of the gentlemen 
concerned. 

At one of the periodical meetings of the inspectors of this 
prison, a working-man of Philadelphia presented himself before 
the Board, and earnestly requested to be placed in solitary con- 
finement. On being asked what motive could possibly prompt 
him to make this strange demand, he answered that he had an 
irresistible propensity to get drunk ; that he was constantly 
indulging in it, to his great misery and ruin ; that he had no 
power of resistance ; that he wished to be put beyond the reach 
of temptation ; and that he could think of no better way than 
this. It was pointed out to him, in reply, that the prison was 
for criminals who had been tried and sentenced by the law, and 
could not be made available for any such fanciful purposes ; he 
was exhorted to abstain from intoxicating drinks, as he surely 
might if he would ; and received other very good advice, with 
which he retired, exceedingly dissatisfied with the result- of his 
application. 

He came again, and again, and again, and was so very earnest 
and importunate, that at last they took counsel together, and 
said, " He will certainly qualify himself for admission, if we 
reject him any more. Let us shut him up. He will soon be 
glad to go away, and then we shall get rid of him." So they 
made him sign a statement which would prevent his ever sus- 
taining an action for false imprisonment, to the effect that his 
incarceration was voluntary, and of his own seeking ; they 



FOR. GENERAL CIRCULATION. 129 

requested him to take notice that the officer in attendance had 
orders to release him at any hour of the day or night, when he 
might knock upon his door for that purpose ; but desired him to 
understand, that once going out, he would not be admitted any 
more. These conditions agreed upon, and he still remaining in 
the same mind, he was conducted to the prison, and shut up 
in one of the cells. 

In this cell, the man who had not the firmness to leave a 
glass of liquor standing untasted on a table before him — in this 
cell, in solitary confinement, and working every day at his trade 
of shoemaking, this man remained nearly two years. His health 
beginning to fail at the expiration of that time, the surgeon 
recommended that he should work occasionally in the garden ; 
and, as he liked the notion very much, he went about this new 
occupation with great cheerfulness. 

He was digging here, one summer day, very industriously, 
when the wicket in the outer gate chanced to be left open ; 
showing, beyond, the well-remembered dusty road and sunburnt 
fields. The way was as free to him as to any man living, but 
he no sooner raised his head and caught sight of it, all shining 
in the light, than, with the involuntary instinct of a prisoner, 
he cast away his spade, scampered off as fast as his legs would 
carry him, and never once looked back. 



CHAPTEK VIII. 

WASHINGTON. THE LEGISLATURE. AND THE PRESIDENT'S HOUSE. 

VXTE left Philadelphia by steamboat, at six o'clock one very 
' cold morning, and turned our faces towards Washington. 
In the course of this day's journey, as on subsequent occa- 
sions, we encountered some Englishmen (small farmers, perhaps, 
or country publicans at home) who were settled in America, 
and were travelling on their own affairs. Of all grades and 
kinds of men that jostle one in the public conveyances of the 
States, these are often the most intolerable and the most insuf- 
ferable companions. United to every disagreeable character- 
1 istic that the worst kind of American travellers possess, these 
;; countrymen of ours display an amount of insolent conceit and 
; cool assumption of superiority quite monstrous to behold. In 
1 the coarse familiarity of their approach, and the effrontery of 
their inquisitiveness (which they are in great haste to assert, 
as if they panted to revenge themselves upon the decent old 
restraints of home), they surpass any native specimens that 
came within my range of observation : and I often grew so 
patriotic when I saw and heard them, that I would cheerfully 
.have submitted to a reasonable fine, if I could have given any 
other country in the whole world the honour of claiming them 
for its children, 
j. As 'Washington may be called the head-quarters of tobacco- 
' tinctured saliva, the time is come when I must confess, without 
any disguise, that the prevalence of those two odious practices 
of chewing and expectorating began about this time to be any- 
i thing but agreeable, and soon became most offensive and sicken- 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 131 

ing. In all the public places of America this filthy custom is 
recognised. In the courts of law the judge has his spittoon, 
the crier his, the witness his, and the prisoner his ; while the 
jurymen and spectators are provided for, as so many men who 
in the course of nature must desire to spit incessantly. In the 
hospitals the students of medicine are requested, by notices 
upon the wall, to eject their tobacco juice into the boxes pro- 
vided for that purpose, and not to discolour the stairs. In 
public buildings visitors are implored, through the same agency, 
to squirt the essence of their quids, or " plugs," as I have heard 
them called by gentlemen learned in this kind of sweetmeat, 
into the national spittoons, and not about the bases of the 
marble columns. But in some parts this custom is inseparably 
mixed up with every meal and morning call, and with all the 
transactions of social life. The stranger, who follows in the 
track I took myself, will find it in its full bloom and glory, 
luxuriant in all its alarming recklessness, at Washington. And 
let him not persuade himself (as I once did, to my shame) that 
previous tourists have exaggerated its extent. The thing itself 
is an exaggeration of nastiness, which cannot be outdone. 

On board this steamboat there were two young gentlemen, 
with shirt collars reversed as usual, and armed with very big 
walking-sticks ; who planted two seats in the middle of the 
deck, at a distance of some four paces apart ; took out their 
tobacco boxes ; and sat down opposite each other to chew. In 
less than a quarter of an hour's time, these hopeful youths had 
shed about them, on the clean boards, a copious shower of 
yellow rain ; clearing, by that means, a kind of magic circle, 
within whose limits no intruders dared to come, and which they 
never failed to refresh and re-refresh before a spot was dry.. 
This being before breakfast, rather disposed me, I confess, to 
nausea ; but looking attentively at one of the expectorators, I 
plainly saw that he was young in chewing, and felt inwardly 
uneasy himself. A glow of delight came over me at this dis- 
covery ; and, as I marked his face turn paler and paler, and saw 

K 2 



132 , AMERICAN NOTES 

the ball of tobacco in his left cheek quiver with his suppressed 
agony, while yet he spat, and chewed, and spat again, in emula- 
tion of his older friend, I could have fallen on his neck and 
implored him to go on for hours. 

We all sat down to a comfortable breakfast in the cabin 
below, where there was no more hurry or confusion than at such 
a meal in England, and where there was certainly greater polite- 
ness exhibited than at most of our stage-coach banquets. At 
about nine o'clock we arrived at the railroad station, and went 
on by the cars. At noon we turned out again, to cross a wide 
river in another steamboat ; landed at a continuation of the 
railroad on the opposite shore ; and went on by other cars ; in 
which, in the course of the next hour or so, we crossed by 
wooden bridges, each a mile in lengtli, two creeks, called respec- 
tively Great and Little Gunpowder. The water in both was 
blackened with flights of canvas-backed ducks, which are most 
delicious eating, and abound hereabouts at that season of the 
year. 

These bridges are of wood, have no parapet, and are only just 
wide enough for the passage of the trains ; which, in the event 
of the smallest accident, would inevitably be plunged into the 
river. They are startling contrivances, and are most agreeable 
when passed. 
I We stopped to dine at Baltimore, and, being now in Mary- 
land, were waited on, for the first time, by slaves. The sensa- 
tion of exacting any service from human creatures who are 
bought and sold, and being, for the time, a party as it were to 
their condition, is not an enviable one. The institution exists, 
perhaps, in its least repulsive and most mitigated form in such 
a town as this ; but it is slavery ; and though I was, with 
respect to it, an innocent man, its presence filled me with a 
sense of shame and self-reproach. 

After dinner we went down to the railroad again, and took 
our seats in the cars for Washington. Being rather early, those 
men and boys who happened to have nothing particular to do, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 33 

and Were curious in foreigners, came (according to custom) 
round the carriage in which I sat ; let down all the windows ; 
thrust in their heads and shoulders ; hooked themselves on 
conveniently by their elbows ; and fell to comparing notes on 
the subject of my personal appearance, with as much indif- 
ference as if I were a stuffed figure. I never gained so much 
uncompromising information with reference to my own nose 
and eyes, the various impressions wrought by my mouth and 
chin on different minds, and how my head looks when it is 
viewed from behind, as on these occasions. Some gentlemen 
were only satisfied by exercising their sense of touch ; and the 
boys (who are surprisingly precocious in America) were seldom 
satisfied even by that, but would return to the charge over and 
over again. Many a budding president has walked into my 
room with his cap on his head and his hands in his pockets, 
and stared at me for two whole hours : occasionally refreshing 
himself with a tweak at his nose, or a draught from the water 
jug ; or by walking to the windows, and inviting other boys in 
the street below to come up and do likewise : crying, " Here he 
is!" "Come on!" "Bring all your brothers!" with other 
hospitable entreaties of that nature. 

We reached Washington at about half-past six that evening, 
and had upon the way a beautiful view of the Capitol, which is 
a fine building of the Corinthian order, placed upon a noble 
and commanding eminence. Arrived at the hotel, I saw no 
more of the place that night ; being very tired, and glad to get 
to bed. 

Breakfast over next morning, I walk about the streets for an 
hour or two, and, coming home, throw up the window in the 
front and back, and look out. Here is Washington, fresh in 
my mind and under my eye. 

Take the worst parts of the City Road and Pentonville, or the 
straggling outskirts of Paris, where the houses are smallest, pre- 
serving all their oddities, but especially the small shops and 
dwellings occupied in Pentonville (but not in Washington) by 



134 AMERICAN NOTES 

furniture brokers, keepers of poor eating-houses, and fanciers of 
birds. Burn the whole down ; build it up again in wood and 
plaster ; widen it a little ; throw in part of St. John's Wood ; 
put green blinds outside all the private houses, with a red 
curtain and a white one in every window ; plough up all the 
roads ; plant a great deal of coarse turf in every place where it 
ought not to be ; erect three handsome buildings in stone and 
marble anywhere, but the more entirely out of everybody's, way 
the better ; call one the Post Office, one the Patent Office, and 
one the Treasury ; make it scorching hot in the morning, and 
freezing cold in the afternoon, with an occasional tornado -of 
wind and dust ; leave a brick-field, without the bricks,; in- all 
central places where a street may naturally be . expected ; and 
that's Washington. 

The hotel in which we live is a long row of small houses 
fronting on the street, and opening at the back upon a common 
yard, in which hangs a great triangle. Whenever a servant is 
wanted, somebody beats on this triangle from one stroke up to 
seven, according to the number of the house in which his 
presence is required ; and as all the servants are always being 
wanted, and none of them ever come, this enlivening engine is 
in full performance the whole day through. Clothes are drying 
in this same yard ; female slaves, with cotton handkerchiefs 
twisted round their heads, are running to and fro on the hotel 
business ; black-waiters cross and recross with dishes in their 
hands ; two great dogs are playing upon a mound of loose bricks 
in the centre of the little square ; a pig is turning up his 
stomach to the sun, and grunting " That's comfortable!" and 
neither the men, nor the women, nor the dogs, nor the pig, nor 
any created creature takes the smallest notice of the triangle, 
which is tingling madly all the time. 

I walk to the front window, and look across the road upon a 
long, straggling row of houses, one story high, terminating, 
nearly opposite, but a little to the left, in a melancholy piece of 
waste ground with frouzy grass, which looks like a small piece 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. I35 

of country that has taken to drinking, and has quite lost itself. 
Standing anyhow and all wrong, upon this open space, like 
something meteoric that has fallen down from the moon, is an 
odd, lop-sided, one-eyed kind of wooden building, that looks 
like a church, with a flagstaff as long as itself sticking out of a 
steeple something larger than a tea-chest. Under the window is 
a small stand of coaches, whose slave drivers are sunning them- 
selves on the steps of our door, and talking idly together. The 
three most obtrusive houses near at hand are the three meanest. 
On one — a shop, which never has anything in the window, and 
never has the door open — is painted in large characters, " The 
City Lunch." At another, which looks like the back-way to 
somewhere else, but is an independent building in itself, oysters 
are procurable in every style. At the third, which is a very, 
very little tailor's shop, pants are fixed to order ; or, in other 
words, pantaloons are made to measure. And that is our street 
in Washington. 

It is sometimes called the City of Magnificent Distances, but } 
it might with greater propriety be termed the City of Magnificent 1 
Intentions ; for it is only on taking a bird's-eye view of it from 1 
the top of the Capitol that one can at all comprehend the vast ' 
designs of its projector, an aspiring Frenchman. Spacious 
avenues that begin in nothing, and lead nowhere ; streets, mile 
long, that only want houses, roads, and inhabitants ; public 
buildings that need but a public to be complete ; and ornaments 
of great thoroughfares, which only lack great thoroughfares to 
ornament — are its leading features. One might fancy the season 
over, and most of the houses gone out of town for ever with 
their masters. To the admirers of cities it is a Barmecide Feast ; > 
a pleasant field for the imagination to rove in ; a monument ; 
raised to a deceased project, with not even a legible inscription; 
to record its departed greatness. 

Such as it is, it is likely to remain. It was originally chosen 
for the seat of Government, as a means of averting the con- 
flicting jealousies and interests of the different States j and very 



1 36 AMERICAN NOTES 

probably, too, as being remote from mobs : a consideration not 
to be slighted, even in America. It has no trade or commerce 
of its own : having little or no population beyond the President 
and his establishment : the members of the legislature, who 
reside there during the session ; the Government clerks and 
officers employed in the various departments ; the keepers of 
the hotels and boarding-houses ; and the tradesmen who supply 
their tables. It is very unhealthy. Few people would live in 
"Washington, I take it, who were not obliged to reside there ; 
and the tides of emigration and speculation, those rapid and 
regardless currents, are little likely to flow at any time towards 
such dull and sluggish water. 

The principal features of the Capitol are, of course, the two 
Houses of Assembly. But there is, besides, in the centre of the 
building, a fine rotunda, ninety-six feet in diameter, and ninety- 
six high, whose circular wall is divided into compartments, 
ornamented by historical pictures. Four of these have for their 
subjects prominent events in the revolutionary struggle. They 
were painted by Colonel Trumbull, himself a member of Wash- 
ington's staff at the time of their occurrence ; from which cir- 
cumstance they derive a peculiar interest of their own. In this 
same hall Mr. Greenough's large statue of Washington has been 
lately placed. It has great merits, of course, but it struck me 
as being rather strained and violent for its subject. I could 
wish, however, to have seen it in a better light than it can ever 
■be viewed in where it stands. 

There is a very pleasant and commodious library in the Capi- 
tol ; and from a balcony in front, the bird's-eye view, of which 
I have just spoken, may be had, together with a beautiful pros- 
pect of the adjacent country. In one of the ornamented portions 
of the building there is a figure of Justice ; whereunto, the Guide 
Book says, "the artist at first contemplated giving more of 
nudity, but he was warned that the public sentiment in this 
country would not admit of it, and in his caution he has gone, 
perhaps, into the opposite extreme." Poor Justice ! she has 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 137 

been made to wear much stranger garments in America than 
those she pines in in the Capitol. Let us hope that she has 
changed her dressmaker since they were fashioned, and that the 
public sentiment of the country did not cut out the clothes she 
hides her lovely figure in just now. 

The House of Representatives is a beautiful and spacious hall 
of semicircular shape, supported by handsome pillars. One 
part of the gallery is appropriated to the ladies, and there they 
sit in front rows, and come in, and go out, as at a play or con- 
cert. The chair is canopied, and raised considerably above the 
floor of the House ; and every member has an easy-chair and a 
writing-desk to himself : which is denounced by some people 
out of doors as a most unfortunate and injudicious arrangement, 
tending to long sittings and prosaic speeches. It is an elegant 
chamber to look at, but a singularly bad one for all purposes of 
hearing. The Senate, which is smaller, is free from this objec- 
tion, and is exceedingly well adapted to the uses for which it is 
designed. The sittings, I need hardly add, take place in the 
day ; and the parliamentary forms are modelled on those of the 
old country. 

I was sometimes asked, in my progress through other places, 
whether I had not been very much impressed by the heads of 
the law-makers at Washington ; meaning not their chiefs and 
leaders, but literally their individual and personal heads, whereon 
their hair grew, and whereby the phrenological character of each 
legislator was expressed ; and I almost as often struck my ques- 
tioner dumb with indignant consternation by answering, " No, 
that I didn't remember being at all overcome." As I must, at 
whatever hazard, repeat the avowal here, I will follow it up by 
relating my impressions on this subject in as few words as 
possible. 

In the first place — it may be from some imperfect develop- 
ment of my organ of veneration — I do not remember having 
ever fainted away, or having even been moved to tears of joyful 
pride, at sight of any legislative body. I have borne the House 



x 38 'AMERICAN NOTES 

of Commons like a man, and have yielded to no weakness, but 
slumber, in the House of Lords. I have seen elections for 
borough and county, and have never been impelled (no matter 
which party won) to damage my hat by throwing it up into the 
air in triumph, or to crack my voice by shouting forth any 
reference to our Glorious Constitution, to the noble purity of 
our independent voters, or the unimpeachable integrity of oUr 
independent members. Having withstood such strong attacks 
upon my fortitude, it is possible that I may be of a cold and 
insensible temperament, amounting to iciness, in such matters ; 
and therefore my impressions of the live pillars of the Capitol at 
Washington must be received with such grains of allowance as 
this free confession may seem to demand. 

Did I see in this public body an assemblage of men, bound 
together in the sacred names of Liberty and Freedom, and so 
asserting the chaste dignity of those twin goddesses, in all 
their discussions, as to exalt at once the Eternal Principles to 
which their names are given, and their own character, and the 
character of their countrymen, in the admiring eyes of the whole 
world ? 

It was but a week since an aged, grey-haired man, a lasting 
honour to the land that gave him birth, who has done good 
service to his country, as his forefathers did, and who will be 
remembered scores upon scores of years after the worms bred in 
its corruption are but so many grains of dust — it was but a week 
since this old man had stood for days upon his trial before this 
very body, charged with having dared to assert the infamy of that 
traffic which has for its accursed merchandise men and women, 
and their unborn children. Yes. And publicly exhibited in the 
same city all the while ; gilded, framed, and glazed ; hung up 
for general admiration ; shown to strangers, not with shame, but 
pride ; its face not turned towards the wall, itself not taken 
down and burned ; is the Unanimous Declaration of The Thirteen 
United States of America, which solemnly declares that All 
Men are created Equal ; and are endowed by their Creator with 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 3$ 

the Inalienable Rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of 
Happiness ! 

It was not a month since this same body had sat calmly by, 
and heard a man, one of themselves, with oaths which beggars 
in their drink reject threaten to cut another's throat from ear 
to ear. There he sat among them ; not crushed by the general 
feeling of the assembly, but as good a man as any. 

There was but a week to come, and another of that body, for 
doing his duty to those who sent him there ; for claiming in a 
Republic the Liberty and Freedom of expressing their senti- 
ments, and making known their prayer ; would be tried, found 
guilty, and have strong censure passed upon him by the xest. 
His was a grave offence indeed ; for, years before, he had risen 
up and said, " A gang of male and female slaves for sale, war- 
ranted to breed like cattle, linked to each other by iron fetters, 
are passing now along the open street beneath the windows of 
your Temple of Equality ! Look ! " But there are many kinds 
of hunters engaged in the Pursuit of Happiness, and they go 
variously armed. It is the Inalienable Right of some among 
them to take the field after their Happiness, equipped with cat 
and cart-whip, stocks, and iron collar, and to shout their view 
halloa (always in praise of Liberty) to the music of clanking 
chains and bloody stripes. 

Where sat the many legislators of coarse threats ; of words 
and blows such as coalheavers deal upon each other, when they 
forget their breeding ? On every side. Every session had its 
anecdotes of that kind, and the actors were all there. 

Did I recognise in this assembly a body of men who, applying 
themselves in a new world to correct some of the falsehoods and 
vices of the old, purified the avenues to Public Life, paved the 
dirty ways to Place and Power, debated and made laws for the 
Common Good, and had no party but their Country ? 

I saw in them the wheels that move the meanest perversion 
of virtuous Political Machinery that the worst tools ever wrought. 
Despicable trickery at elections ; under-handed tamperings with 



140 AMERICAN NOTES 

public officers ; cowardly attacks upon opponents, with scurrilous 
newspapers for shields, and hired pens for daggers ; shameful 
trucklings to mercenary knaves, whose claim to be considered is, 
that every day and week they sow new crops of ruin with their 
venal types, which are the dragon's teeth of yore, in everything 
but sharpness ; aidings and abettings of every bad inclination in 
the popular mind, and artful suppressions of all its good influ- 
ences : such things as these, and, in a word, D ishonest Factio n 
i n its most depra ved and most unblushing form, stared out from 
every corner of the cro wded hall._ 

Did I see among them the intelligence and refinement : the 
true, honest, patriotic heart of America ? Here and there were 
drops of its blood and life, but they scarcely coloured the stream 
of desperate adventurers which sets that way for profit and for 
pay. It is the game of these men, and of their profligate organs, 
to make the strife of politics so fierce and brutal, and so destruc- 
tive of all self-respect in worthy men, that sensitive and delicate- 
minded persons shall be kept aloof, and they, and such as they, 
be left to battle out their selfish views unchecked. And thus this 
lowest of all scrambling fights goes on, and they who in other coun- 
tries would, from their intelligence and station, most aspire to make 
the laws, do here recoil the farthest from that degradation. 

That there are, among the representatives of the people in 
both Houses, and among all parties, some men of high character 
and great abilities, I need not say. The foremost among those 
politicians who are known in Europe have been already described, 
and I see no reason to, depart from the rule I have laid down 
for my guidance, of abstaining from all mention of individuals. 
It will be sufficient to add that, to the most favourable accounts 
that have been written of them, I more than fully and most 
heartily subscribe ; and that personal intercourse and free com- 
munication have bred within me, not the result predicted in the 
very doubtful proverb, but increased admiration and respect. 
They are striking men to look at, hard to deceive, prompt to 
act, lions in energy, Crichtons in varied accomplishments, Indians 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 141 

in fire of eye and gesture, Americans in strong and generous 
impulse ; and they as well represent the honour and wisdom of 
their country at home, as the distinguished gentleman who is 
now its minister at the British Court sustains its highest character 
abroad. 

I visited both Houses nearly every day during my stay in 
Washington. On my initiatory visit to the House of Repre- 
sentatives, they divided against a decision of the chair ; but the 
chair won. The second time I went, the member who was 
speaking, being interrupted by a laugh, mimicked it, as one 
child would in quarrelling with another, and added " that he 
would make honourable gentlemen opposite sing out a little 
more on the other side of their mouths presently." But inter- 
ruptions are rare ; the speaker being usually heard in silence. 
There are more quarrels than with us, and more threatenings 
than gentlemen are accustomed to exchange in any civilised 
society of which we have record : but farmyard imitations have 
not as yet been imported from the Parliament of the United 
Kingdom. The feature in oratory which appears to be the most 
practised, and most relished, is the constant repetition of the 
same idea, or shadow of an idea, in fresh words ; and the inquiry 
out of doors is not, " What did he say ? " but, " How long did 
he speak ? " These, however, are but enlargements of a prin 
ciple which prevails elsewhere. 

The Senate is a dignified and decorous body, and its proceed- 
ings are conducted with much gravity and order. Both Houses 
are handsomely carpeted ; but the state to which these carpets 
are reduced by the universal disregard of the spittoon with 
which every honourable member is accommodated, and the 
extraordinary improvements on the pattern which are squirted 
and dabbled upon it in every direction, do not admit of being 
described. I will merely observe, that I strongly recommend 
all strangers not to look at the floor ; and if they happen to 
drop anything, though it be their purse, not to pick it up with 
an ungloved hand on any account. 



142 AMERICAN NOTES 

It is somewhat remarkable too, at first, to say the least, to 
see so many honourable members with swelled faces ; and it is 
scarcely less remarkable to discover that this appearance is 
caused by the quantity of tobacco they contrive to stow within 
the hollow of the cheek. It is strange enough, too, to see an 
honourable gentleman leaning back in his tilted chair, with his 
legs on the desk before him, shaping a convenient " plug " with 
his penknife, and, when it is quite ready for use, shooting the 
old one from his mouth as from a pop-gun, and clapping the 
new one in its place. 

I was surprised to observe that even steady old chewers of 
great experience are not always good marksmen, which has 
rather inclined me to doubt that general proficiency with the 
rifle, of which we have heard so much in England. Several 
gentlemen called upon me who, in the course of conversation, 
frequently missed the spittoon at five paces ; and one (but he 
was certainly short-sighted) mistook the closed sash for the open 
window at three. On another occasion, when I dined out, and 
was sitting with two ladies and some gentlemen round a fire 
before dinner, one of the company fell short of the fire-place six 
distinct times. I am disposed to think, however, that this was 
occasioned by his not aiming at that object; as there was a white 
marble hearth before the fender, which was more convenient, and 
may have suited his purpose better. 

The Patent Office at Washington furnishes an extraordinary 
example of American enterprise and ingenuity ; for the immense 
number of models it contains are the accumulated inventions of 
only five years : the whole of the previous collection having been 
destroyed by fire. The elegant structure in which they are 
arranged is one of design rather than execution, for there is 
but one side erected out of four, though the works are stopped. 
The Post Office is a very compact and very beautiful building. 
In one of the departments, among a collection of rare and curious 
articles, are deposited the presents which have been made from 
time to time to the American ambassadors at foreign courts by 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 43 

the various potentates to whom they were the accredited agents 
of the Republic : gifts which, by the law, they are not permitted 
to retain. I confess that I looked upon this as a very painful 
exhibition, and one by no means flattering to the national stand- 
ard of honesty and honour. That can scarcely be a high state 
of moral feeling which imagines a gentleman of repute and station 
likely to be corrupted, in the discharge of his duty, by the pre- 
sent of a snuff-box, or a richly-mounted sword, or an Eastern 
shawl ; and surely the Nation who reposes confidence in her 
appointed servants is likely to be better served than she who 
makes them the subject of such very mean and paltry suspicions. 

At George Town, in the suburbs, there is a Jesuit College ; 
delightfully situated, and, so far as I had an opportunity of 
seeing, well managed. Many persons who are not members of 
the Komish church avail themselves, I believe, of these institu- 
tions, and of the advantageous opportunities they afford for the 
education of their children. The heights in this neighbourhood, 
above the Potomac River, are very picturesque ; and are free, 
I should conceive, from some of the insalubrities of Washington. 
The air, at that elevation, was quite cool and refreshing, when 
in the city it was burning hot. 

The President's mansion is more like an English club-house, 
both within and without, than any other kind of establishment 
with which I can compare it. The ornamental ground about it 
has been laid out in garden walks ; they are pretty, and agree- 
able to the eye ; though they have that uncomfortable air of j 
having been made yesterday, which is far from favourable to ! 
the display of such beauties. 

My first visit to this house was on the morning after my arrival, 
when I was carried thither by an official gentleman, who was so 
kind as to charge himself with my presentation to the President 

We entered a large hall, and, having twice or thrice rung a 
bell which nobody answered, walked without further ceremony 
through the rooms on the ground-floor, as divers other gentle- 
men (mostly with their hats on, and their hands in their pockets) 



144 AMERICAN NOTES 

were doing very leisurely. Some of these had ladies with them, 
to whom they were showing the premises ; others were lounging 
on the chairs and sofas ; others, in a perfect state of exhaustion 
from listlessness, were yawning drearily. The greater portion of 
this assemblage were rather asserting their supremacy than doing 
anything else, as they had no particular business there, that any- 
body knew of. A few were closely eyeing the movables, as if 
to make quite sure that the President (who was far from 
popular) had not made away with any of the furniture, or sold 
the fixtures for his private benefit. 

After glancing at these loungers ; who were scattered over a 
pretty drawing-room, opening upon a terrace which commanded 
a beautiful prospect of the river and the adjacent country ; and 
who were sauntering, too, about a larger state-room called the 
Eastern Drawing-room ; we went up-stairs into another chamber, 
where were certain visitors waiting for audiences. At sight of 
my conductor, a black in plain clothes and yellow slippers who 
was gliding noiselessly about, and whispering messages in the 
ears of the more impatient, made a sign of recognition, and 
glided off to announce him. 

"We had previously looked into another chamber fitted all 
round with a great bare wooden desk or counter, whereon lay 
files of newspapers, to which sundry gentlemen were referring. 
But there were no such means of beguiling the time in this 
apartment, which was as unpromising and tiresome as any wait- 
ing-room in one of our public establishments, or any physician's 
dining-room during his hours of consultation at home. 

There were some fifteen or twenty persons in the room. One, 
a tall, wiry, muscular old man, from the west ; sunburnt and 
swarthy ; with a brown-white hat on his knees, and a giant 
umbrella resting between his legs ; who sat bolt upright in his 
'diair, frowning steadily at the carpet, and twitching the hard 
lines about his mouth, as if he had made up his mind " to fix " 
the President on what he had to say, and wouldn't bate him a 
grain. Another, a Kentucky farmer, six feet six in height, with 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 145 

his hat on, and his hands under his coat-tails, who leaned 
against the wall and kicked the floor with his heel, as though 
he had Time's head under his shoe, and were literally "killing" 
him. A third, an oval-faced, bilious-looking man, with sleek 
black hair cropped close, and whiskers and beard shaved down 
to blue dots, who sucked the head of a thick stick, and from 
time to time took it out of his mouth to see how it was getting 
on. A fourth did nothing but whistle. A fifth did nothing but 
spit. And, indeed, all these gentlemen were so very persevering 
and energetic in this latter particular, and bestowed their favours 
so abundantly upon the carpet, that I take it for granted the 
Presidential housemaids have high wages, or, to speak more 
genteelly, an ample amount of "compensation:" which is the 
American word for salary in the case of all public servants. 

We had not waited in this room many minutes before the 
black messenger returned, and conducted us into another of 
smaller dimensions, where, at a business-like table covered with 
papers, sat the President himself. He looked somewhat worn 
and anxious, — and well lie might : being at war with everybody, 
— but the expression of his face was mild and pleasant, and his 
manner was remarkably unaffected, gentlemanly, and agreeable. 
I thought that, in his whole carriage and demeanour, he became 
his station singularly well. 

Being advised that the sensible etiquette of the republican 
court admitted of a traveller, like myself, declining, without any 
impropriety, an invitation to dinner, which did not reach me 
until I had concluded my arrangements for leaving Washington 
some days before that to which it referred, I only returned to 
this house once. It was on the occasion of one of those general 
assemblies which are held on certain nights, between the hours 
of nine and twelve o'clock, and are called, rather oddly, Levees. 

I went, with my wife, at about ten. There was a pretty 
dense crowd of carriages and people in the courtyard, and, so 
far as I could make out, there were no very clear regulations for 
the taking up or setting down of company, There were certainly 

h 



146 AMERICAN NOTES 

no policemen to soothe startled horses, either by sawing at their 
bridles or nourishing truncheons in their eyes ; and I am ready 
to make oath that no inoffensive persons were knocked violently 
on the head, or poked acutely in their backs or stomachs ; or 
brought to a stand-still by any such gentle means, and then 
taken into custody for not moving on. But there was no con- 
\\ fusion or disorder. Our carriage reached the porch in its turn, 
without any blustering, swearing, shouting, backing, or other 
disturbance : and we dismounted with as much ease and comfort 
as though we had been escorted by the whole Metropolitan Force, 
from A to Z inclusive. 

The suite of rooms on the ground-floor were lighted up ; and 
a military band was playing in the hall. In the smaller draw- 
ing-room, the centre of a circle of company, were the President 
and his daughter-in-law, who acted as the lady of the mansion : 
and a very interesting, graceful, and accomplished lady too. 
One gentleman who stood among this group appeared to take 
upon himself the functions of a master of the ceremonies. I 
saw no other officers or attendants, and none were needed. 

The great drawing-room which I have already mentioned, and 
the other chambers on the ground-floor, were crowded to excess. 
The company was not, in our sense of the term, select, for it 
comprehended persons of very many grades and classes ; nor 
was there any great display of costly attire : indeed, some of the 
costumes . may have been, for aught I know, grotesque enough. 
But the. .decorum and propriety of behaviour which prevailed 
were unbroken by any rude or disagreeable incident ; and every 
man, even among the miscellaneous crowd in the hall who were 
admitted without any orders or tickets to look on, appeared to 
feel that he was a part of the Institution, and was responsible 
for its preserving a becoming character, and appearing to the 
best advantage. 

That these visitors, too, whatever their station, were not with- 
out some refinement of taste and appreciation of intellectual gifts, 
and gratitude to those men who, by the peaceful exercise of 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 147 

great abilities, shed new charms and associations upon the homes 
of their countrymen, and elevate their character in other lands, 
was most earnestly testified by their reception of Washington 
Irving, my dear friend, who had recently been appointed Minister 
at the Court of Spain, and who was among them that night, 
in his new character, for the first and last time before going 
abroad. I sincerely believe that, in all the madness of American 
politics, few public men would have been so earnestly, devotedly, 
and affectionately caressed as this most charming writer : and I 
have seldom respected a public assembly more than I did this 
eager throng, when I saw them turning with one mind from 
noisy orators and officers of state, and flocking with a generous 
and honest impulse round the man of quiet pursuits : proud in 
his promotion, as reflecting back upon their country : and 
grateful to him with their whole hearts for the store of graceful 
fancies he had poured out among them. Long may he dispense 
such treasures with unsparing hand ; and long may they 
remember him as worthily ! 



The term we had assigned for the duration of our stay in 
Washington was now at an end, and we were to begin to travel; 
for the railroad distances we had traversed yet, in journeying 
among these older towns, are on that great continent looked 
upon as nothing. 

I had at first intended going South — to Charleston. But 
when I came to consider the length of time which this journey 
would occupy, and the premature heat of the season, which even 
at Washington had been often very trying ; and weighed, more- 
over, in my own mind, the pain of living in the constant con- 
templation of slavery, against the more than doubtful chances 
of my ever seeing it, in the time I had to spare, stripped of the 
disguises in which it would certainly be dressed, and so adding 
any item to the host of facts already heaped together on the 
subject ; I began to listen to old whisperings which had often 

L 2 



148 AMERICAN NOTES 

been present to me at home in England, when I little thought 
of ever being here ; and to dream again of cities growing up, 
like palaces in fairy tales, among the wilds and forests of the 
west. 

The advice I received in most quarters, when I began to yield 
to my desire of travelling towards that point of the compass, 
was, according to custom, sufficiently cheerless : my companion 
being threatened with more perils, dangers, and discomforts than 
I can remember, or would catalogue if I could ; but of which it 
will be sufficient to remark that blowings-up in steamboats and 
breakings-down in coaches were among the least. But, having 
a western route sketched out for me by the best and kindest 
authority to which I could have resorted, and putting no great 
faith in these discouragements, I soon determined on my plan 
of action. 

This was to travel south only to Richmond in Virginia ; and 
then to turn, and shape our course for the Far West ; whither I 
beseech the reader's company in a new chapter. 



CHAPTER IX. 

A NIGHT STEAMER ON THE POTOMAC RIVER. VIRGINIA ROAD, AND A BLACK DRIVER. 
RICHMOND. BALTIMORE. THE HARRISBURG MAIL, AND A GLIMPSE OP THE CITY. 
A CANAL BOAT. 

T^fTE were to proceed in the first instance by steamboat : and 
as it is usual to sleep on board, in consequence of the 
starting hour being four o'clock in the morning, we went down 
to where she lay, at that very uncomfortable time for such 
expeditions when slippers are most valuable, and a familiar bed, 
in the perspective of an hour or two, looks uncommonly pleasant. 

It is ten o'clock at night : say half-past ten : moonlight, 
warm, and dull enough. The steamer (not unlike a child's 
Noah's ark in form, with the machinery on the top of the roof) 
is riding lazily up and down, and bumping clumsily against the 
wooden pier, as the ripple of the river trifles with its unwieldy 
carcase. The wharf is some distance from the city. There is 
nobody down here ; and one or two dull lamps upon the 
steamer's decks are the only signs of life remaining, when our 
coach has driven away. As soon as our footsteps are heard 
upon the planks, a fat negress, particularly favoured by nature 
in respect of bustle, emerges from some dark stairs, and marshals 
my wife towards the ladies' cabin, to which retreat she goes, 
followed by a mighty bale of cloaks and great-coats. I valiantly 
resolve not to go to bed at all, but to walk up and down the 
pier till morning. 

I begin my promenade — thinking of all kinds of distant 
things and persons, and of notbing near — and pace up and 
down for half an hour. Then I go on board again : and, getting 



150 AMERICAN NOTES 

into the light of one of the lamps, look at my watch, and think 
it must have stopped ; and wonder what has become of the 
faithful secretary whom I brought along with me from Boston. 
He is supping with our late landlord (a Field Marshal at least, 
no doubt) in honour of our departure, and may be two hours 
longer. I walk again, but it gets duller and duller : the moon 
goes down : next June seems farther off in the dark, and the 
echoes of my footsteps make me nervous. It has turned cold, 
too ; and walking up and down without any companion in such 
lonely circumstances is but poor amusement. So I break my 
staunch resolution, and think it may be, perhaps, as well to go 
to bed. 

1 I go on board again ; open the door of the gentlemen's cabin ; 
and walk in. Somehow or other — from its being so quiet, I 
suppose — I have taken it into my head that there is nobody 
there. To my horror and amazement it is full of sleepers in 
every stage, shape, attitude, and variety of slumber : in the 
berths, on the chairs, on the floors, on the tables, and par- 
ticularly round the stove, my detested enemy. I take another 
step forward, and slip upon the shining face of a black steward, 
who lies rolled in a blanket on the floor. He jumps up, grins, 
half in pain and half in hospitality ; whispers my own name in 
my ear ; and, groping among the sleepers, leads me to my berth. 
Standing beside it, I count these slumbering passengers, and get 
past forty. There is no use in going further, so I begin to 
undress. As the chairs are all occupied, and there is nothing 
else to put my clothes on, I deposit them upon the ground : 
not without soiling my hands, for it is in the same condition as 
the carpets in the Capitol, and from the same cause. Having 
but partially undressed, I clamber on my shelf, and hold the 
curtain open for a few minutes while I look round on all my 
fellow-travellers again. That done, I let it fall on them, and on 
the world : turn round : and go to sleep. 

I wake, of course, when we get under way, for there is a good 
deal of noise. The day is then just breaking. Everybody 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 151 

wakes at the same time. Some are self-possessed directly, and 
some are much perplexed to make out where they are until they 
have rubbed their eyes, and, leaning on one elbow, looked about 
them. Some yawn, some groan, nearly all spit, and a few get 
up. I am among the risers : for it is easy to feel, without 
going into fresh air, that the atmosphere of the cabin is vile 
in the last degree. I huddle on my clothes, go down into the 
fore-cabin, get shaved by. the barber, and wash myself. The 
washing and dressing apparatus, for the passengers generally, 
consists of two jack-towels, three small wooden basins, a keg of 
water and a ladle to serve it out with, six square inches of look- 
ing-glass, two ditto ditto of yellow soap, a comb and brush for 
the head, and nothing for the teeth. Everybody uses the comb 
and brush, except myself. Everybody stares to see me using 
my own ; and two or three gentlemen are strongly disposed to 
banter me on my prejudices, but don't. When I have made 
my toilet, I go upon the hurricane deck, and set in for two hours 
of hard walking up and down. The sun is rising brilliantly ; 
we are passing Mount Vernon, where Washington lies buried ; 
the river is wide and rapid ; and its banks are beautiful. All 
the glory and splendour of the day are coming on, and growing 
brighter every minute. 

At eight o'clock we breakfast in the cabin where I passed the 
night, but the windows and doors are all thrown open, and now 
it is fresh enough. There is no hurry or greediness apparent 
in the dispatch of the meal. It is longer than a travelling 
breakfast with us ; more orderly ; and more polite. 

Soon after nine o'clock we come to Potomac Creek, where we 
are to land ; and then comes the oddest part of the journey. 
Seven stage-coaches are preparing to carry us on. Some of them 
are ready, some of them are not ready. Some of the drivers are 
blacks, some whites. There are four horses to each coach, and 
all the horses, harnessed or unharnessed, are there. The pas- 
sengers are getting out of the steamboat, and into the coaches ; 
the luggage is being transferred in noisy wheelbarrows ; the 



152 AMERICAN NOTES 

horses are frightened, and impatient to start ; the black drivers 
are chattering to them like so many monkeys ; and the white 
ones whooping like so many drovers : for the main thing to be 
done, in all kinds of hostlering here, is to make as much noise 
as possible. The coaches are something like the French coaches, 
but not nearly so good. In lieu of springs, they are hung on 
bands of the strongest leather. There is very little choice or 
difference between them ; and they may be likened to the car 
portion of the swings at an English fair, roofed, put upon axle- 
trees and wheels, and curtained with painted canvas. They are 
covered with mud from the roof to the wheel-tire, and have 
never been cleaned since they were first built. 

The tickets Ave have received on • board the steamboat are 
marked No. 1, so we belong to coach No. 1. I throw my coat 
on the box, and hoist my wife and her maid into the inside. It 
has only one step, and that being about a yard from the ground, 
is usually approached by a chair : when there is no chair, ladies 
trust in Providence. The coach holds nine inside, having a seat 
across from door to door, where we in England put our legs ; so 
that there is only one feat more difficult in the performance 
than getting in, and that is getting out again. There is only 
one outside passenger, and he sits upon the box. As I am that 
one, I climb up ; and while they are strapping the luggage on 
the roof, and heaping it into a kind of tray behind, have a good 
opportunity of looking at the driver. 

He is a negro — very black indeed. He is dressed in a coarse 
pepper-and-salt suit excessively patched and darned (particularly 
at the knees), grey stockings, enormous unblacked high-low 
shoes, and very short trousers. He has two odd gloves : one of 
party-coloured worsted, and one of leather. He has a very 
short whip, broken in the middle, and bandaged up with string. 
And yet he wears a low-crowned, broad-brimmed, black hat : 
faintly shadowing forth a kind of insane imitation of an English 
coachman ! But somebody in authority cries " Go ahead ! " 
as I am making these observations. The mail takes the lead in 



For General Circulation. 153 

a, four-horse waggon, and all the coaches follow in procession : 
headed by No. 1. — 

By the way, whenever an Englishman would cry "All right !" 
an American cries " Go ahead ! " which is somewhat expressive 
of the national character of the two countries. 

The first half-mile of the road is over bridges made of loose 
planks laid across two parallel poles, which tilt up as the wheels 
roll over them ; and in the river. The river has a clayey 
bottom, and is full of holes, so that half a horse is constantly 
disappearing unexpectedly, and can't be found again for some 
time. 

But we get past even this, and come to the road itself, which 
is a series of alternate swamps and gravel-pits. A tremendous 
place is close before us, the black driver rolls his eyes, screws 
his mouth up very round, and looks straight between the two 
leaders, as if he were saying to himself, " We have done this 
often before, but now I think we shall have a crash." He takes 
a rein in each hand ; jerks and pulls at both ; and dances on the 
splash-board with both feet (keeping his seat, of course) like the 
late lamented Ducrow on two of his fiery coursers. We come 
to the spot, sink down in the mire nearly to the coach windows, 
tilt on one side at an angle of forty-five degrees, and stick there. 
The insides scream dismally ; the coach stops ; the horses floun- 
der ; all the other six coaches stop ; and their four-and-twenty 
horses flounder likewise : but merely for company, and in sym- 
pathy with ours. Then the following circumstances occur. 

Black Driver (to the horses). " Hi ! " 

Nothing happens. Insides scream again. 

Black Driver (to the horses). " Ho ! " 

Horses plunge, and splash the black driver. 

Gentleman inside (looking out). " Why, what on airth " 

Gentleman receives a variety of splashes, and draws his head 
in again, without finishing his question or waiting for an answer. 

Black Driver (still to the horses). " Jiddy ! Jiddy ! " 

Horses pull violently, drag the coach out of the hole, and 



154 AMERICAN NOTES 

draw it up a bank ; so steep that the black driver's legs fly 
up into the air, and he goes back among the luggage on the 
roof. But he immediately recovers himself, and cries (still to 
the horses), 

"Pill!" 

No effect. On the contrary, the coach begins to roll back 
upon No. 2, which rolls back upon No. 3, which rolls back upon 
No. 4, and so on, until No. 7 is heard to curse and swear nearly 
a quarter of a mile behind. 

Black Driver (louder than before). " Pill ! " 

Horses make another struggle to get up the bank, and again 
the coach rolls backward. 

Black Driver (louder than before). " Pe-e-e-ill ! " 

Horses make a desperate struggle. 

Black Driver (recovering spirits). " Hi ! Jiddy, Jiddy, 
Pill!" 

Horses make another effort. 

Black Driver (with great vigour). " Ally Loo ! Hi. Jiddy, 
Jiddy. Pill. Ally Loo ! " 

Horses almost do it. 

Black Driver (with his eyes starting out of his head). 
" Lee, den. Lee, dere. ■ Hi. Jiddy, Jiddy. Pill. Ally Loo. 
Lee-e-e-e-e ! " 

They run up the bank, and go down again on the other side 
at a fearful pace. It is impossible to stop them, and at the 
bottom there is a deep hollow, full of water. The coach rolls 
frightfully. The insides scream. The mud and water fly about 
us. The black driver dances like a madman. Suddenly we are 
all right by some extraordinary means, and stop to breathe. 

A black friend of the black driver is sitting on a fence. The 
black driver recognises him by twirling his head round and 
round like a harlequin, rolling his eyes, shrugging his shoulders, 
and grinning from ear to ear. He stops short, turns to me, and 
says : 

"We shall get you through, sa, like a fiddle, and hope a 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 155 

please you when we get you through, sa. Old 'ooman at home, 
sa : " chuckling very much. " Outside gentleman, sa, he often 
remember old 'ooman at home, sa," grinning again. 

*' Ay, ay, we'll take care of the old woman. Don't be afraid." 

The black driver grins again, but there is another hole, and, 
beyond that, another bank, close before us. So he stops short : 
cries (to the horses again) " Easy. Easy den. Ease. Steady. 
Hi. Jiddy. Pill. Ally. Loo," but never " Lee ! " until we 
are reduced to the very last extremity, and are in the midst 
of difficulties, extrication from which appears to be all but 
impossible. 

And so we do the ten miles or thereabouts in two hours and 
a half; breaking no bones, though bruising a great many; and, 
in short, getting through the distance " like a fiddle." 

This singular kind of coaching terminates at Fredericksburg* 
whence there is a railway to Richmond. The tract of country 
through which it takes its course was once productive : but the 
soil has J been— exhauatfid_-by the system of emplo ying a great 
amount of slave labour i n forcing crops, without strengthening 
the land : and it is now little better than a sandy desert over- 
grown with trees. Dreary and uninteresting as its aspect is, I 
was glad to the heart to find anything on which one of the 
curses of this horrible institujjnn_bas fallen ; and had greater 
pleasure in contemplating the withered ground than the l-ichest 
and most thriving cultivation in the same place could possibly 
have afforded me. 

Inthisdisjtrict,_as. in all others where slavery sits brooding 
(I have frequently heard this admitted, even by those who are 
its warmest advocates), t here is an air of ruin a nd decay abroad, 
which is inseparable from the system. The barns and outhouses 
are mouldering away ; the sheds are patched and half roofless ; 
the log-cabins (built in Virginia with external chimneys made of 
clay or wood) are squalid in the last degree. There is no look 
of decent comfort anywhere. The miserable stations by the 
railway side ; the great wild woodyards, whence the engine is 



156 AMERICAN NOTES 

supplied with fuel ; the negro children rolling on the ground 
before the cabin doors, with dogs and pigs ; the biped beasts of 
burden slinking past : gloom and dejection are upon them all. 

In the negro car belonging to the train in which we made 
this journey were a mother and her children who had just been 
purchased-; the husband and father being left behind with their 
old owner. The children cried the whole way, and the mother 
was misery's picture. The champion of Life, Liberty, and the 
Pursuit of Happiness, who had bought them, rode in the same 
train ; and, every time we stopped, got down to see that they 
were safe. The black in Sinbad's Travels, with one eye in the 
: middle of his forehead which shone like a burning coal, was 
(nature's aristocrat compared with this white gentleman. 

It was between six and seven o'clock in the evening when we 
drove to the hotel : in front of which, and on the top of the broad 
flight of steps leading to the door, two or three citizens were 
balancing themselves on rocking-chairs, and smoking cigars. 
We found it a very large and elegant establishment, and were 
as well entertained as travellers need desire to be. The climate 
being a thirsty one, there was never, at any hour of the day, a 
scarcity of loungers in the spacious bar, or a cessation of the 
mixing of cool liquors : but they were a merrier people here, 
and had musical instruments playing to them 0' nights, which 
it was a treat to hear again. 

The next day, and the next, we rode and walked about the 
town, which is delightfully situated on eight hills overhanging 
James Kiver ; a sparkling stream, studded here and there with 
bright islands, or brawling over broken rocks. Although it was 
yet but the middle of March, the weather in this southern 
temperature was extremely warm ; the peach-trees and mag- 
nolias were in full bloom ; and the trees were green. In a 
low ground among the hills is a valley known as " Bloody 
Run," from a terrible conflict with the -Indians which once 
occurred there. It is a good plaee for such a struggle, and, like 
every other spot I saw associated with any legend of that wild 




BLACK AND WHITE. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 57 

people now so rapidly fading from the earth, interested me very- 
much. 

The city is the seat of the local Parliament of Virginia ; and, 
in its shady legislative halls, some orators were drowsily holding 
forth to the hot noonday. By dint of constant repetition, how- 
ever, these constitutional sights had very little more interest for 
me than so many parochial vestries ; and I was glad to exchange 
this one for a lounge in a well-arranged public library of some 
ten thousand volumes, and a visit to a tobacco manufactory, 
where the workmen were all slaves. 

I saw in this place the whole process of picking, rolling, 
pressing, drying, packing in casks, and branding. All the 
tobacco thus dealt with was in course of manufacture for chew- 
ing ; and one would have supposed there was enough in that 
one storehouse to have filled even the comprehensive jaws of 
America. In this form the weed looks like the oil-cake on 
which we fatten cattle ; and, .even without reference to its con- 
sequences, is sufficiently uninviting. 

Many of the workmen appeared to be strong men, and it is 
hardly necessary to add that they were all labouring quietly 
then. After two o'clock in the day they are allowed to sing, a 
certain number at a time. The hour striking while I was there, 
some twenty sang a hymn in parts, and sang it by no means ill ; 
pursuing their work meanwhile. A bell rang as I was about to 
leave, and they all poured forth into a building on the opposite 
side of the street to dinner. I said several times that I should 
like to see them at their meal ; but, as the gentleman to whom 
I mentioned this desire appeared to be suddenly taken rather 
deaf, I did not pursue the request. Of their appearance I shall 
have something to say presently. 

On the following day I visited a plantation or farm, of about 
twelve hundred acres, on the opposite bank of the river. Here 
again, although I went down with the owner of the estate, to 
" the quarter," as that part of it in which the slaves live is 
called, I was not invited to enter into any of their huts. All I 



4l 



I58 .AMERICAN NOTES 

saw of them was, that they were very crazy, wretched cabins, 
near to which groups of half-naked children basked in the sun, 
or wallowed on the dusty ground. But I believe that this gen- 
tleman is a considerate and excellent master, who inherited his 
fifty slaves, and is neither a buyer nor a seller of human stock ; 
and I am sure, from my own observation and conviction, that 
he is a kind-hearted, worthy man. 

The planter's house was an airy, rustic dwelling, that brought 
Defoe's description of such places strongly to my recollection. 
The day was very warm, but the blinds being all closed, and 
the windows and doors set wide open, a shady coolness rustled 
through the rooms, which was exquisitely refreshing after the 
glare and heat without. Before the windows was an open 
piazza, where, in what they call the hot weather — whatever that 
may be — -they sling hammocks, and drink and doze luxuriously. 
I do not know how their cool refections may taste within the 
hammocks, but, having experience, I can report that, out of 
them, the mounds of ices and the bowls of mint-julep and 
sherry-cobbler they make in these latitudes, are refreshments 
never to be thought of afterwards, in summer, by those who 
would preserve contented minds. 

There are two bridges across the river : one belongs to the 
railroad, and the other, which is a very crazy affair, is the 
private property of some old lady in the neighbourhood, who 
levies tolls upon the townspeople. Crossing this bridge on my 
way back, I saw a notice painted on the gate, cautioning all 
persons to drive slowly : under a penalty, if the offender were a 
white man, of five dollars ; if a negro, fifteen stripes. 

The same decay and gloom that overhang the way by which 
it is approached, hover above the town of Bichmond. There 
are pretty villas and cheerful houses in its streets, and Nature 
smiles upon the country round ; but jostling its handsome 
residences, like slavery itself going hand-in-hand with many 
lofty virtues, are deplorable tenements, fences unrepaired, walls 
crumbling into ruinous heaps. Hinting gloomily at things 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 59 

below the surface, the se., and many other tokens of the same 
description, force themselves upon the notice, and are remem - 
bered with depressing_ influence, _ jvhen_ livelier f eatures are 
forgotten. 

To those who are happily unaccustomed to them, the counte- 
nances in the streets and labouring-places, too, are shocking. 
All men who know that there are laws against inst ructing 
slaves, o f which the pains and penalties greatly exceed in their 
amount the fines imposed on those who maim and torture them, 
must be prepared to find their faces very low in the scale of 
intellectual expression. But the darkness — not of skin, but 
mind — which meets the stranger's eye at every turn ; the 
brutalising and blotting out of all fairer characters traced by 
Nature's hand ; immeasurably outdo his worst belief. That 
travelled creation of the great satirist's brain, who, fresh from 
living among horses, peered from a high casement down upon 
his own kind with trembling horror, was scarcely more repelled 
and daunted by the sight than those who look upon some of 
these faces for the first time must surely be. 

I left the last of them behind me in the person of a wretched 
drudge, who, after running to and fro all day till midnight, and 
moping in his stealthy winks of sleep upon the stairs between- 
Avhiles, was washing the dark passages at four o'clock in the 
morning ; and went upon my way with a grateful heart that I 
was not doomed to live where slavery was, and had never had 
my senses blunted to its wrongs and horrors in a slave-rocked 
cradle. 

It had been my intention to proceed by James River and 
Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore ; but one of the steamboats being 
absent from her station through some accident, and the means 
of conveyance being consequently rendered uncertain, we 
returned to Washington by the way we had come (there were 
two constables on board the steamboat, in pursuit of runaway 
slaves), and, halting there again for one night, went on to 
Baltimore next afternoon, 



160 AMERICAN NOTES 

The most comfortable of all the hotels of which I had any 
experience in the United States, and they were not a few, is 
Barnum's, in that city : where the English traveller will find 
curtains to his bed, for the first and probably the last time in 
America (this is a disinterested remark, for I never use them) ; 
and where he will be likely to have enough water for washing 
himself, which is not at all a common case. 

This capital of the State of Maryland is a bustling, busy 
town, with a great deal of traffic of various kinds, and in par- 
ticular of water commerce. That portion of the town which it 
most favours is none of the cleanest, it is true ; but the upper 
part is of a very different character, and has many agreeable 
streets and public buildings. The Washington Monument, 
which is a handsome pillar with a statue on its summit ; the 
Medical College ; and the Battle Monument in memory of an 
engagement with the British at North Point ; are the most 
conspicuous among them. 

There is a very good prison in this city, and the State 
Penitentiary is also among its institutions. In this latter 
establishment there were two curious cases. 

One was that of a young man who had been tried for the 
murder of his father. The evidence was entirely circumstantial, 
and was very conflicting and doubtful ; nor was it possible to 
assign any motive which could have tempted him to the com- 
mission of so tremendous a crime. He had been tried twice ; 
and, on the second occasion, the jury felt so much hesitation in 
convicting him, that they found a verdict of manslaughter, or 
murder in the second degree ; which it could not possibly be, 
as there had, beyond all doubt, been no quarrel or provocation, 
and if he were guilty at all, he was unquestionably guilty of 
murder in its broadest and worst signification. 

The remarkable feature in the case was, that if the unfor- 
tunate deceased were not really murdered by this own son of 
his, he must have been murdered by his own brother. The 
evidence lay, in a most remarkable manner, between those two. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. l6l 

On all the suspicious points, the dead man's brother was the 
witness ; all the explanations for the prisoner (some of them 
extremely plausible) went, by construction and inference, to 
inculpate him as plotting to fix the guilt upon his nephew. It 
must hare been one of them ; and the jury had to decide 
between two sets of suspicions, almost equally unnatural, 
unaccountable, and strange. 

The other case was that of a man who once went to a certain 
distiller's, and stole . a copper measure containing a quantity of 
liquor. He was pursued and taken with the property in his 
possession, and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. On 
coming out of the gaol at the expiration of that term, he went 
back to the same distiller's, and stole the same copper measure, 
containing the same quantity of liquor. There was not the 
slightest reason to suppose that the man wished to return to 
prison : indeed, everything, but the commission of the offence, 
made directly against that assumption. There are only two 
ways of accounting for this extraordinary proceeding. One is 
that, after undergoing so much for this copper measure, he con- 
ceived he had established a sort of claim and right to it. The 
other that, by dint of long thinking about, it had become a 
monomania with him, and had acquired a fascination which ho 
found it impossible to resist : swelling from an Earthly Copper 
Gallon into an Ethereal Golden Yat. 

After remaining here a couple of days, I bound myself to a 
rigid adherence to the plan I had laid down so recently, and 
resolved to set forward on our western journey without any 
more delay. Accordingly, having reduced the luggage within 
the smallest possible compass (by sending back to New York, 
to be afterwards forwarded to us in Canada, so much of it as 
was not absolutely wanted) ; and having procured the necessary 
credentials to banking-houses on the way ; and having, more- 
over, looked for two evenings at the setting sun, with as well- 
defined an idea of the country before us as if we had been going 
to travel into the very centre of that planet ; we left Baltimore 

M 



1 62 AMERICAN NOTES 

by another railway at half-past eight in the morning, and 
reached the town of York, some sixty miles off, by the early 
dinner-time of the hotel which was the starting-place of the 
four-horse coach wherein we were to proceed to Harrisburg. 

This conveyance, the" box of which I was fortunate enough to 
secure, had come down to meet us at the railroad station, and 
was as muddy and cumbersome as usual. As more passengers 
were waiting for us at the inn door, the coachman observed 
under his breath, in the usual self-communicative voice, looking 
the while at his mouldy harness as if it were to that he was 
addressing himself, 

" I expect we shall want the big coach." 

I could not help wondering within myself what the size of 
this big coach might be, and how many persons it might be 
designed to hold ; for the vehicle which was too small for our 
purpose was something larger than two English heavy night 
coaches, and might have been the twin brother of a French 
Diligence. My speculations were speedily set at rest, however ; 
for, as soon as we had dined, there came rumbling up the streel, 
shaking its sides like a corpulent giant, a kind of barge on 
wheels. After much blundering and backing, it stopped at the 
door : rolling heavily from side to side, when its other motion 
had ceased, as if it had taken cold in its damp stable, and 
between that, and the having been required in its dropsical old 
age to move at any faster pace than a walk, were distressed by 
shortness of wind. 

" If here ain't the Harrisburg mail at last, and dreadful 
bright and smart to look at too," cried an elderly gentleman in 
some excitement, " darn my mother !" 

I don't know what the sensation of being darned may be, or 
whether a man's mother has a keener relish or disrelish of the 
process than anybody else; but if the endurance of this 
mysterious ceremony by the old lady in question had depended 
on the accuracy of her son's vision in respect to the abstract 
brightness and smartness of the Harrisburg mail, she would 



for general Circulation. 163 

ftertainly have undergone its infliction. However, they booked 
twelve people inside ; and the luggage (including such trifles 
as a large rocking-chair and a good-sized dining-table) being 
at length made fast upon the roof, we started off in great state. 

At the door of another hotel there was another passenger to 
be taken up. 

"Any room, sir?" cries the new passenger to the coachman. 

" Well, there's room enough," replies the coachman, without 
getting down, or even looking at him. 

" There ain't no room at all, sir," bawls a gentleman inside. 
Which another gentleman (also inside) confirms, by predicting 
that the attempt to introduce any more passengers " won't fit 
nohow." 

The new passenger, without any expression of anxiety, looks 
into the coach, and then looks up at the coachman. "Now, how 
do you mean to fix it ?" says he after a pause : " for I must go." 

The coachman employs himself in twisting the lash of his 
whip into a knot, and takes no more notice of the question : 
clearly signifying that it is anybody's business but his, and that 
the passengers would do well to fix it among themselves. In 
this state of things, matters seem to be approximating to a fix 
of another kind, when another inside passenger in a corner, who 
is nearly suffocated, cries faintly. 

".I'll get out." 

This is no matter of relief or self-congratulation to the driver, 
for his immovable philosophy is perfectly undisturbed by any- 
thing that happens in the coach. Of all things in the world, 
the coach would, seem to be the very last upon "his mind. The 
exchange is made, however, and then the passenger who has 
given up his seat makes a third upon the box, seating himself 
in what he calls the middle : that is, with half his person on 
my legs, and the other half on the driver's. 

" Go ahead, cap' en," cries the colonel, who directs. 

" Go-lang !" cries the cap' en to his company, the horses, and 
away we go. 

m 2 



l6-f AMERICAN NOl-Eg 

We took up at a rural bar-room, after we had gone a few 1 
miles, an intoxicated gentleman who climbed upon the roof 
among the luggage, and subsequently slipping off without 
hurting himself, was seen in the distant perspective reeling 
back to the grog-shop where we had found him. We also 
parted with more of our freight at different times, so that when 
we came to change horses, I was again alone outside. 

The coachmen always change with the horses, and are usually 
as dirty as the coach. The first was dressed like a very shabby 
English baker ; the second like a Russian peasant : for he wore 
a loose purple camlet robe with a fur collar, tied round his 
waist with a party-coloured worsted sash ; grey trousers ; light 
blue gloves ; and a cap of bear-skin. It had by this time come 
on to rain very heavily, and there was a cold damp mist 
besides, which penetrated to the skin. I was very glad to take 
advantage of a stoppage, and get down to stretch my legs, 
shake the water off my great-coat, and swallow the usual anti- 
temperance recipe for keeping out the cold. 

When I mounted to my seat again, I observed a new parcel 
lying on the coach roof, which I took to be a rather large fiddle 
in a brown bag. In the course of a few miles, however, I dis- 
covered that it had a glazed cap at one end and a pair of 
muddy shoes at the other ; and further observation demon- 
strated it to be a small boy in a snuff-coloured coat, with his 
arms quite pinioned to his sides, by deep forcing into his 
pockets. He was, I presume, a relative or friend of the coach- 
man's, as he lay atop of the luggage, with his face towards the 
rain ; and, except when a change of position brought his shoes 
in contact with my hat, he appeared to be asleep. At last, on 
some occasion of our stopping, this thing slowly upreared itself 
to the height of three feet six, and fixing its eyes on me, 
observed in piping accents, with a complaisant yawn, half 
quenched in an obliging air of friendly patronage, " Well now, 
stranger, I guess you find this a' most like an English arternoon 3 
hey?" * , 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 165 

The scenery, which had been tame enough at first, was, for 
the last ten or twelve miles, beautiful. Our road wound 
through the pleasant valley of the Susquehanna ; the river, 
dotted with innumerable green islands, lay upon our right ; 
and on the left, a steep ascent, craggy with broken rock, and 
dark with pine-trees. The mist, wreathing itself into a hundred 
fantastic shapes, moved solemnly upon the water ; and the 
gloom of evening gave to all an air of mystery and silence 
which greatly enhanced its natural interest. 

We crossed this river by a wooden bridge, roofed and covered 
in on all sides, and nearly a mile in length. It was profoundly 
dark ; perplexed, with great beams crossing and recrossing it at 
every possible angle ; and through the broad chinks and crevices 
of the floor the rapid river gleamed, far down below, like a legion 
of eyes. We had no lamps ; and as the horses stumbled and 
floundered through this place, towards the distant speck of 
dying light, it seemed interminable. I really could not at first 
persuade myself, as we rumbled heavily on, filling the bridge 
with hollow noises, and I held down my head to save it from 
the rafters above, but that I was in a painful dream ; for I have 
often dreamed of toiling through such places, and as often 
argued, even at the time, " this cannot be reality." 

At length, however, we emerged upon the streets of Harris- 
burg, whose feeble lights, reflected dismally from the wet ground, 
did not shine out upon a very cheerful city. We were soon esta- 
blished in a snug hotel, which, though smaller and far less 
splendid than many we put up at, is raised above them all in 
my remembrance, by having for its landlord the most obliging, 
considerate, and gentlemanly person I ever had to deal with. 

As we were not to proceed upon our journey until the after- 
noon, I walked out, after breakfast the next morning, to look 
about me ; and was duly shown a model prison on the solitary 
system, just erected, and as yet without an inmate ; the trunk 
of an old tree to which Harris, the first settler here (afterwards 
buried under it) was tied by hostile Indians, with his funeral 



1 66 AMERICAN NOTES 

•pile about him, when he was saved by the timely appearance of 
a friendly party on the opposite shore of the river ; the local 
legislature (for there was another of those bodies here, again, in 
full debate) ; and the other curiosities of the town. 

I was very much interested in looking over a number of 
treaties made from time to time with the poor Indians, signed 
by the different chiefs at the period of their ratification, and 
preserved in the office of the Secretary to the Commonwealth. 
These signatures, traced of course by their own hands, are 
rough drawings of the creatures or weapons they were called 
after. Thus, the Great Turtle makes a crooked pen-and-ink 
outline of a great turtle ; the Buffalo sketches a buffalo ; the 
War Hatchet sets a rough image of that weapon for his mark. 
So with the Arrow, the Fish, the Scalp, the Big Canoe, and all 
of them. 

I could not but think — as I looked at these feeble and 
tremulous productions of hands which could draw the longest 
arrow to the head in a stout elk-horn bow, or split a bead or 
feather with a rifle ball — of Crabbe's musings over the Parish 
Register, and the irregular scratches. made with a pen by men 
who would plough a lengthy furrow straight from end to end. 
Nor could I help bestowing many sorrowful thoughts upon the 
simple warriors whose hands and hearts were set there in all 
truth and honesty ; and who only learned in course of time 
from white men how to break their faith, and quibble out of 
forms and bonds. I wondered, too, how many times the credu- 
lous Big Turtle, or trusting Little Hatchet, had put his mark to 
treaties which were falsely read to him ; and had signed away, 
he knew not what, until it went and cast him loose upon the 
new possessors of the land, a savage indeed. 

Our host announced, before our early dinner, that some 
members of the legislative body proposed to do us the honour 
of calling. He had kindly yielded up to us his wife's own little 
parlour, and when I begged that he would show them in, I saw 
him look with painful apprehension at its pretty carpet ; though, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 67 

being otherwise occupied at the time, the cause of his uneasiness 
did not occur to me. 

It certainly would have been more pleasant to all parties con- 
cerned, and would not, I think, have compromised their inde- 
pendence in any material degree, if some of these gentlemen had 
not only yielded to the prejudice in favour of spittoons, but had 
abandoned themselves, for the moment, even to the conventional 
absurdity of pocket-handkerchiefs. 

It still continued to rain heavily, and when we went down to 
the Canal Boat (for that was the mode of conveyance by which 
we were to proceed) after dinner, the weather was as unpro- 
mising and obstinately wet as one would desire to see. Nor was 
the sight of this canal boat, in which we were to spend three or 
four days, by any means a cheerful one ; as it involved some 
uneasy speculations concerning the disposal of the passengers at 
night, and opened a wide field of inquiry touching the other 
domestic arrangements of the establishment, which was suffi- 
ciently disconcerting. 

However, there it was — a barge with a little house in it, 
viewed from the outside ; and a caravan at a fair, viewed from 
within : the gentlemen being accommodated as the spectators 
usually are in one of those locomotive museums of penny 
wonders ; and the ladies being partitioned off by a red curtain, 
after the manner of the dwarfs and giants in the same establish- 
ments, whose private lives are passed in rather close exclusive- 
ness. 

We sat here, looking silently at the row of little tables which 
extended down both sides of the cabin, and listening to the 
rain as it dripped and pattered on the boat, and plashed with a 
dismal merriment in the water, until the arrival of the railway 
train, for whose final contribution to our stock of passengers 
our departure was alone deferred. It brought a great many 
boxes, which were bumped and tossed upon the roof, almost as 
painfully as if they had been deposited on one's own head, without 
the intervention of a porter's knot ; and several damp gentlemen, 



r68 AMERICAN NOTES * j 

whose clothes, on their drawing round the stove, began to steam 
again. No doubt it would have been a thought more comfort- 
able if the driving rain, -which now poured down more soakingly 
than ever, had admitted of a window being opened, or if our 
number had been something less than thirty ; but there was 
scarcely time to think as much, when a train of three horses was 
attached to the tow-rope, the boy upon the leader smacked his 
whip, the rudder creaked and groaned complainingly, and we 
had begun our journey. 



CHAPTER X. 

SOME FURTHER ACCOUNT OF THE CANAL BOAT, ITS DOMESTIC ECONOMY, AND ITS 
PASSENGERS. JOURNEY TO riTTSBURG ACROSS THE ALLEGHANY MOUNTAINS. 
PITTSBURG. 

A S it continued to rain most perseveringly, we all remained 
"^ below : the damp gentlemen round the stove gradually- 
becoming mildewed by the action of the fire : and the dry 
gentlemen lying at full length upon the seats, or slumbering 
uneasily with their faces on the tables, or walking up and 
down the cabin, which it was barely possible for a man of tho 
middle height to do without making bald places on his head 
by scraping it against the roof. At about six o'clock all the 
small tables were put together to form one long table, and 
everybody sat down to tea, coffee, bread, butter, salmon, shad ; 
liver, steak, potatoes, pickles, ham, chops, black puddings, and 
sausages. 

" Will you try," said my opposite neighbour, handing me a 
dish of potatoes broken up in milk and butter, " will you try 
some of these fixings ? " 

There are few words which perform such various duties as 
this word " fix." It is the Caleb Quotem of the American 
vocabulary. You call upon a gentleman in a country town, and 
his help informs you that he is " fixing himself" just now, but 
will be down directly : by which you are to understand that he 
is dressing. You inquire, on board a steamboat, of a fellow- 
passenger, whether breakfast will be ready soon, and he tells you 
he should think so, for, when he was last below, they were " fix- 
ing the tables : " in other words, laying the cloth. You beg a 



I?0 AMERICAN NOTES 

porter to collect your luggage, and he entreats you not to be 
uneasy, for he'll " fix it presently : " and if you complain of 
indisposition, you are advised to have recourse to Doctor So- 
and-so, who will " fix you " in no time. 

One night I ordered a bottle of mulled wine at an hotel where 
I was staying, and waited a long time for it ; at length it was 
put upon the table, with an apology from the landlord that he 
feared it wasn't " fixed properly." And I recollect once, at a 
stage-coach dinner, overhearing a very stern gentleman demand 
of a waiter who presented him with a plate of underdone 
roast beef, " whether he called that fixing God- A'mighty's 
vittles ? " 

There is no doubt that the meal, at which the invitation was 
tendered to me which has occasioned this digression, was dis- 
posed of somewhat ravenously ; and that the gentlemen thrust 
the broad-bladed knives and the two-pronged forks further down 
their throats than I ever saw the same weapons go before, except 
in the hands of a skilful juggler : but no man sat down until 
the ladies were seated ; or omitted any little act of politeness 
which could contribute to their comfort. Nor did I ever once, 
on any occasion, anywhere, during my rambles in America, see 
a woman exposed to the slightest act of rudeness, incivility, or 
even inattention. 

By the time the meal was over, the rain, which seemed to 
have worn itself out by coming down so fast, was nearly over 
too ; and it became feasible to go on deck : which was a great 
relief, notwithstanding its being a very small deck, and being 
rendered still smaller by the luggage, which was heaped together 
in the middle under a tarpaulin covering ; leaving, on either 
side, a path so narrow, that it became a science to walk to and 
fro without tumbling overboard into the canal. It was some- 
what embarrassing at first, too, to have to duck nimbly every 
five minutes whenever the man at the helm cried " Bridge ! " 
and sometimes, when the cry was " Low Bridge," to lie down 
nearly flat. But custom familiarises one to anything, and there 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 17; 

were so many bridges that it took a very short time to get used 
to this. 

As night came on, and we drew in sight of the first range of 
hills, which are the outposts of the Alleghany Mountains, the 
scenery, which had been uninteresting hitherto, became more 
bold and striking. The wet ground reeked and smoked after 
the heavy fall of rain ; and the croaking of the frogs (whose 
noise in these parts is almost incredible) sounded as though a 
million of fairy teams with bells were travelling through the air, 
and keeping pace with lis. The night was cloudy yet, but 
moonlight too : and when we crossed the Susquehanna River — • 
over which there is an extraordinary wooden bridge with two 
galleries, one above the other, so that, even there, two boat- 
teams meeting may pass without confusion — it was wild and 
grand. 

I have mentioned my having been in some uncertainty and 
doubt, at first, relative to the sleeping arrangements on board 
this boat. I remained in the same vague state of mind until 
ten o'clock or thereabouts, when, going below, I found suspended, 
on either side of the cabin, three long tiers of hanging book- 
shelves, designed apparently for volumes of the small octavo 
size. Looking with greater attention at these contrivances 
(wondering to find such literary preparations in such a place), 
I descried on each shelf a sort of microscopic sheet and blanket ; 
then I began dimly to comprehend that the passengers were the 
library, and that they were to be arranged edge-wise on these 
shelves till morning. 

I was assisted to this conclusion by seeing some of them 
gather round the master of the boat at one of the tables, draw- 
ing lots with all the anxieties and passions of gamesters depicted 
in their countenances ; while others, with small pieces of card- 
board in their hands, were groping among the shelves in search 
of numbers corresponding with those they had drawn. As soon 
as any gentleman found his number, he took possession of it by 
immediately undressing himself and crawling into bed. The 



172 AMERICAN NOTES 

rapidity with which an agitated gambler subsided into a snoring 
sluniberer was one of the most singular effects I have ever 
witnessed. As to the ladies, they were already abed, behind the 
red curtain, which was carefully drawn and pinned up the centre ; 
though as every cough, or sneeze, or whisper, behind this curtain, 
was perfectly audible before it, we had still a lively consciousness 
of their society. 

The politeness of the person in authority had secured to me 
a shelf in a nook near this red curtain, in some degree removed 
from the great body of sleepers : to which place I retired, 
with many acknowledgments to him for his attention. I found 
it, on after-measurement, just the width of an ordinary sheet of 
Bath post letter-paper ; and I was at first in some uncertainty 
as to the best means of getting into it. But the shelf being a 
bottom one, I finally determined on lying upon the floor, rolling 
gently in, stopping immediately I touched the mattress, and 
remaining for the night with that side uppermost, whatever it 
might be. Luckily, I came upon my back at exactly the right 
moment. I was much alarmed, on looking upward, to see, by 
the shape of his half-yard of sacking (which his weight had 
bent into an exceedingly tight bag), that there was a very heavy 
gentleman above me, whom the slender cords seemed quite 
incapable of holding ; and I could not help reflecting upon the 
grief of my wife and family in the event of his coming down 
in the night. But, as I could not have got up again without a 
severe bodily struggle, which might have alarmed the ladies ; 
and as I had nowhere to go to even if I had ; I shut my eyes 
upon the danger, and remained there. 

One of two remarkable circumstances is indisputably a fact, 
with reference to that class of society who travel in these boats. 
Either they carry their restlessness to such a pitch that they 
never sleep at all ; or they expectorate in dreams, which vrould 
be a remarkable mingling of the real and ideal. All night long, 
and every night, on this canal, there was a perfect storm and 
tempest of spitting ; and once my coat, being in the very centre 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 173 

Of a hurricane sustained by five gentlemen (which moved verti- 
cally, strictly carrying out Reid's Theory of the Law of Storms), 
I was fain the next morning to lay it on the deck, and rub it 
down with fair water before it was in a condition to be worn 
again. 

Between five and six o'clock in the morning we got up, and 
some of us went on deck, to give them an opportunity of taking 
the shelves down ; while others, the morning being very cold, 
crowded round the rusty stove, cherishing the newly-kindled 
fire, and filling the grate with those voluntary contributions of 
which they had been so liberal all night. The washing accommo- 
dations were primitive. There was a tin ladle chained to the 
deck, with which every gentleman who thought it necessary to 
cleanse himself (many were superior to this weakness) fished the 
dirty water out of the canal, and poured it into a tin basin, 
secured in like manner. There was also a jack-towel. And, 
hanging up before a little looking-glass in the bar, in the imme- 
diate vicinity of the bread and cheese and biscuits, were a public 
comb and hair-brush. 

At eight o'clock, the shelves being taken down and put away, 
and the tables joined together, everybody sat down to the tea, 
coffee, bread, butter, salmon, shad, liver, steak, potatoes, pickles, 
ham, chops, black puddings, and sausages, all over again. Some 
were fond of compounding this variety, and having it all on 
their plates at once. As each gentleman got through his own 
personal amount of tea, coffee, bread, butter, salmon, shad, 
liver, steak, potatoes, pickles, ham, chops, black puddings, and 
sausages, he rose up and walked off. When everybody had 
done with everything, the fragments were cleared away : and 
one of the waiters, appearing anew in the character of a barber, 
shaved such of the company as desired to be shaved ; while the 
remainder looked on, or yawned over their newspapers. Dinner 
was breakfast again, without the tea and coffee ; and supper and 
breakfast were identical. 

There was a man on board this boat with a light, fresh- 



174 AMERICAN NOTES 

coloured face, and a pepper-and-salt suit of clothes, who was the 
most inquisitive fellow that can possibly be imagined. He 
never spoke otherwise than interrogatively. He was an em- 
bodied inquiry. Sitting down or standing up, still or moving, 
walking the deck or taking his meals, there he was, with a great 
note of interrogation in each eye, two in his cocked ears, two 
more in his turned-up nose and chin, at least half-a-dozen more 
about the corners of his mouth, and the largest one of all in his 
hair, which was brushed pertly off his forehead in a flaxen 
clump. Every button in his clothes said, " Eh ? What's that ? 
Did you speak ? Say that again, will you ? " He was always 
wide awake, like the enchanted bride who drove her husband 
frantic ; always restless ; always thirsting for answers ; per- 
petually seeking and never finding. There never was such a 
curious man. 

I wore a fur great-coat- at that time, and, before we were well 
clear of the wharf, he questioned me concerning it, and its price, 
and where I bought it, and when, and what fur it was, and what 
it weighed, and what it cost. Then he took notice of my watch, 
and asked what that cost, and whether it was a French watch, 
and where I got it, and how I got it, and whether I bought it 
or had it given me, and how it went, and where the keyhole was, 
and when I wound it, every night or every morning, and whether 
I ever forgot to wind it at all, and if I did, what then ? Where 
had I been to last, and where was I going next, and where was 
I going after that, and had I seen the President, and what did 
he say, and what did I say, and what did he say when I had 
said that ? Eh ? Lor, now ! do tell ! 

Finding that nothing would satisfy him, I evaded his ques- 
tions after the first score or two, and in particular pleaded 
ignorance respecting the name of the fur whereof the coat was 
made. I am unable to say whether this was the reason, but 
that coat fascinated him ever afterwards ; he usually kept close 
behind me as I walked, and moved as I moved, that he might 
look at it the better ; and he frequently dived into narrow places 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 75 

after me at the risk of his life, that he might have the satis- 
faction of passing his hand up the back, and rubbing it the 
wrong way. 

We had another odd specimen on board of a different kind. 
This was a thin-faced, spare-figured man of middle age and 
stature, dressed in a dusty drabbish-coloured suit, such as I 
never saw before. He was perfectly quiet during the first part 
of the journey : indeed, I don't remember having so much as 
seen him until he was brought out by circumstances,, as great 
men often are. The conjunction of events which made him 
famous happened, briefly, thus. 

The canal extends to the foot of the mountain, and there, of 
course, it stops ; the passengers being conveyed across it by land 
carriage, and taken on afterwards by another canal boat, the 
counterpart of the first, which awaits them on the other side. 
There are two canal lines of passage boats ; one is called the 
Express, and one (a cheaper one) the Pioneer. The Pioneer 
gets first to the mountain, and waits for the Express people to 
come up ; both sets of passengers being conveyed across it at 
the same time. We were the Express company ; but when we 
had crossed the mountain, and had come to the second boat, 
the proprietors took it into their heads to draft all the Pioneers . 
into it likewise, so that we were five-and-forty at least, and 
the accession of passengers was not at all of that kind 
which improved the prospect of sleeping at night. Our people 
grumbled at this, as people do in such cases ; but suffered the 
boat to be towed off with the whole freight aboard nevertheless ; 
and' away we went down the canal. At home I should have 
protested lustily, but, being a foreigner here/ 1 held my peace. 
Not so this passenger. He cleft a path among the people on 
deck (we were nearly all on deck), and, without addressing any- 
body whomsoever, soliloquised as follows : 

" This may suit you, this may, but it don't suit me. This 
may be all very well with Down Easters, and men of Boston 
raising, but it won't suit my figure nohow ; and no two ways 



176 AMERICAN NOTES 

about that ; and so I tell you. Now ! I'm from the brown 
forests of the Mississippi, I am, and when the sun shines on me, 
it does shine — a little. It don't glimmer where / live, the sun 
don't. No. I'm a brown forester, I am. I an't a Johnny Cake. 
There are no smooth skins where I live. We're rough men 
there. Eather. If Down Easters and men of Boston raising 
like this, I'm glad of it, but I'm none of that raising nor of that 
breed. No. This company wants a little fixing, it does. I'm 
the wrong sort of man for 'em, i" am. They won't like me, they 
won't. This is piling of it up a little too mountainous, this is." 
At the end of every one of these short sentences he turned upon 
his heel, and walked the other way ; checking himself abruptly 
when he had finished another short sentence, and turning back 
again. 

It is impossible for me to say what terrific meaning was 
hidden in the words of this brown forester, but I know that 
the other passengers looked on in a sort of admiring horror, and 
that presently the boat was put back to the wharf, and as many 
of the Pioneers as could be coaxed or bullied into going away 
were got rid of. 

When we started again, some of the boldest spirits on board 
made bold to say to the obvious occasion of this improvement 
in our prospects, "Much obliged to you, sir:" whereunto the 
brown forester (waving his hand, and still walking up and down 
as before), replied, " No, you an't. You're none o' my raising. 
You may act for yourselves, you may. I have pinted out the 
way. Down Easters and Johnny Cakes can follow if they please. 
I an't a Johnny Cake, i" an't. I am from the brown forests of 
the Mississippi, / am" — and so on, as before. He was unani- 
mously voted one of the tables for his bed at night — there is 
a great contest for the tables — in consideration of his public 
services : and he had the warmest corner by the stove through- 
out the rest of the journey. But I never could find out that 
he did anything except sit there ; nor - did I hear him speak 
again until, in the midst of the bustle and turmoil of getting. 



For general Circulation. 177 

the luggage ashore in the dark at Pittsburg, I stumbled over 
him as he sat smoking a cigar on the cabin steps, and heard 
him muttering to himself, with a short laugh of defiance, " I 
an't a Johnny Cake, J an't. I'm from the brown forests of the 
Mississippi, / am, damme !" I am inclined to argue, from this, 
that he had never left off saying so; but I could not make 
affidavit of that part of the story, if required to do so by my 
Queen and Country. 

As we have not reached Pittsburg yet, however, in the order 
of our narrative, I may go on to remark that breakfast was 
perhaps the least desirable meal of the day, as, in addition to 
the many savoury odours arising from the eatables already 
mentioned, there were whiffs of gin, whiskey, brandy, and rum 
from the little bar hard by, and a decided seasoning of stale 
tobacco. Many of the gentlemen passengers were far from par- 
ticular in respect of their linen, which was in some cases as 
yellow as the little rivulets that had trickled from the corners 
of their mouths in chewing, and dried there. Nor was the 
atmosphere quite free from zephyr whisperings of the thirty 
beds which had just been cleared away, and of which we were 
further and more pressingly reminded by the occasional appear- 
ance on the table-cloth of a kind of Game not mentioned in the 
Bill of Fare. 

And yet despite these oddities — and even they had, for me 
at least, a humour of their own — there was much in this mode 
of travelling which I heartily enjoyed at the time, and look 
back upon with great pleasure. Even the running up, bare- 
necked, at five o'clock in the morning, from the tainted cabin 
to the dirty deck ; scooping up the icy water, plunging one's 
head into it, and drawing it out all fresh and glowing with the 
cold ; was a good thing. The fast, brisk walk upon the towing- 
path, between that time and breakfast, when every vein and 
artery seemed to tingle with health ; the exquisite beauty of the 
opening day, when light came gleaming off from everything ; 
the lazy motion of the boat, when one lay idly on the deck, 

N 



178 AMERICAN NOTES 

looking through, rather than at, the deep blue sky ; the gliding 
on at night, so noiselessly, past frowning hills, sullen with dark 
trees, and sometimes angry in one red burning spot high up, 
where unseen men lay crouching round a fire ; the shining out 
of the bright stars, undisturbed by noise of wheels or steam, or 
any other sound than the liquid rippling of the water as the 
boat went on : all these were pure delights. 

Then, there were new settlements and detached log-cabins 
and frame-houses, full of interest for strangers from an old 
country : cabins with simple ovens, outside, made of clay ; and 
lodgings for the pigs nearly as good as many of the human 
quarters ; broken windows, patched with worn-out hats, old 
clothes, old boards, fragments of blankets and paper ; and home' 
made dressers standing in the open air without the door, 
whereon was ranged the household store, not hard to count, of 
earthen jars and pots. The eye was pained to see the stumps 
of great 'trees thickly strewn in every field of wheat, and seldom 
to lose the eternal swamp and dull morass, with hundreds of 
rotten trunks and twisted branches steeped in its unwholesome 
water. It was quite sad and oppressive to come upon great 
tracts where settlers had been burning down the trees, and 
wher,e their wounded bodies lay about like those of murdered 
creatures, while here and there some charred and blackened 
giant reared aloft two withered arms, and seemed to call down 
curses on his foes. Sometimes, at night, the way wound through 
some lonely gorge, like a mountain pass in Scotland, shining 
and coldly glittering in the light of the moon, and so closed in 
by high steep hills all round, that there seemed to be no egress, 
save through the narrower path by which we had come, until 
one rugged hill-side seemed to open, and, shutting out the 
moonlight as we passed into its gloomy throat, wrapped our new 
course in shade and darkness. 

We had left Harrisburg on Friday. On Sunday morning we 
arrived at the foot of the mountain, which is crossed by railroad. 
There are ten inclined planes ; five ascending, and five descend- 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 179 

ing ; the carriages are dragged up the former, and let slowly 
down the latter, by means of stationary engines ; the compara- 
tively level spaces between being traversed, sometimes by horse, 
and sometimes by engine power, as the case demands. Occa- 
sionally the rails are laid upon the extreme verge of a giddy 
precipice ; and looking from the carriage window, the traveller 
gazes sheer down, without a stone or scrap of fence between, 
into the mountain depths below. The journey is very carefully 
made, however ; only two carriages travelling together ; and, 
while proper precautions are taken, is not to be dreaded for its 
dangers. 

It was very pretty, travelling thus at a rapid pace along the 
heights of the mountain in a keen wind, to look down into a 
valley full of light and softness ; catching glimpses, through the 
tree-tops, of scattered cabins ; children running to the doors ; 
dogs bursting out to bark, whom we could see without hearing < 
terrified pigs scampering homewards ; families sitting out in 
their rude gardens ; cows gazing upward with a stupid indif- 
ference ; men in their shirt-sleeves, looking on at their unfinished 
houses, planning out to-morrow's work ; and we riding onward, 
high above them, like a whirlwind. It was amusing, too, when 
we had dined, and rattled down a steep pass, having no other 
moving power than the weight of the carriages themselves, to 
see the engine, released long after us, come buzzing down alone, 
like a great insect, its back of green and gold so shining in the 
sun, that if it had spread a pair of wings and soared away, no 
one would have had occasion, as I fancied, for the least surprise. 
But it stopped short of us in a very business-like manner when 
we reached the canal ; and, before we left the wharf, went pant- 
ing up this hill again, with the passengers who had waited our 
arrival for the means of traversing the road by which we had 
come. 

On the Monday evening, furnace fires and clanking hammers 
on the banks of the canal warned us that we approached the 
termination of this part of our journey. After going through 

N 2 



iSo AMERICAN NOTES 

another dreamy place — a long aqueduct across the Alleghany 
River, which was stranger than the hridge at Harrisburg, being 
a vast, low, wooden chamber full of water — we emerged upon 
that ugly confusion of backs of buildings and crazy galleries 
and stairs which always abuts on water, whether it be river, sea, 
canal, or ditch : and were at Pittsburg. 

Pittsburg is like Birmingham in England ; at least, its towns- 
people say so. Setting aside the streets, the shops, the houses, 
waggons, factories, public buildings, and population, perhaps it 
may be. It certainly has a great quantity of smoke hanging 
about it, and is famous for its iron -works. Besides the prison 
to which I have already referred, this town contains a pretty 
arsenal and other institutions. It is very beautifully situated 
on the Alleghany River, over which there are two bridges ; and 
the villas of the wealthier citizens, sprinkled about the high 
grounds in the neighbourhood, are pretty enough. "We lodged 
at a most excellent hotel, and were admirably served. As usual, 
it was full of boarders, was very large, and had a broad colon- 
nade to every story of the house. ) 

We tarried here three days. Our next point was Cincinnati : 
and as this was a steamboat journey, and western steamboats 
usually blow up one or two a week in the season, it was advisable 
to collect opinions in reference to the comparative safety of the 
vessels bound that way, then lying in the river. One called the 
Messenger was the best recommended. She had been advertised 
to start positively every day for a fortnight or so, and had not 
gone yet, nor did her captain seem to have any very fixed inten- 
tion on the subject. But this is the custom : for if the law 
were to bind down a free and independent citizen to keep his 
word with the public, what would become of the liberty of the 
subject ? Besides, it is in the way of trade. And if passengers 
be decoyed in the way of trade, and people be inconvenienced in 
the way of trade, what man, who is a sharp tradesman himself, 
shall say, " We must put a stop to this ? " 

Impressed by the deep solemnity of the public announcement, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 181 

I (being then ignorant of these usages) was for hurrying on 
board in a breathless state immediately ; but receiving private 
and confidential information that the boat would certainly not 
start until Friday, April the First, we made ourselves very 
comfortable in the meanwhile, and went on board at noon that 
day. 



CHAPTER XL 

PROM PITTSBURG TO CINCINNATI IN A WESTERN STEAMBOAT. CINCINNATI. 

fTIHE Messenger was one among a crowd of high-pressure 
-*• steamboats clustered together by the wharf-side, which, 
looked down upon from the rising ground that forms the 
landing-place, and backed by the lofty bank on the opposite 
side of the river, appeared no larger than so many floating 
models. She had some forty passengers on board, exclusive of 
the poorer persons on the lower deck ; and in half an hour, or 
less, proceeded on her way. 

We had, for ourselves, a tiny state-room with two berths in 
it, opening out of the ladies' cabin. There was, undoubtedly, 
something satisfactory in this " location," inasmuch as it was in 
the stern, and we had been a great many times very gravely 
recommended to keep as far aft as possible, " because the steam- 
boats generally blew up forward." Nor was this an unnecessary 
caution, as the occurrence and circumstances of more than one 
such fatality during our stay sufficiently testified. Apart from 
this source of self-congratulation, it was an unspeakable relief to 
have any place, no matter how confined, where one could be 
alone : and as the row of little chambers, of which this was one, 
had each a second glass door besides that in the ladies' cabin, 
which opened on a narrow gallery outside the vessel, where the 
other passengers seldom came, and where one could sit in peace 
Hnd gaze upon the shifting prospect, we took possession of our 
new quarters with much pleasure. 

If the native packets I have already described be unlike any- 
thing we are in the habit of seeing on water, these western 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1-83 

vessels are still more foreign to all the ideas we are accustomed 
to entertain of boats. I hardly know what to liken them to, or 
how to describe them. 

In the first place, they have no mast, cordage, tackle, rigging, 
or other such boat-like gear ; nor have they anything in their 
shape at all calculated to remind one of a boat's head, stern, 
sides, or keel. Except that they are in the water, and display 
a couple of paddle-boxes, they might be intended, for anything 
that appears to the contrary, to perform some unknown service, 
high and dry, upon a mountain-top. There is no visible deck 
even : nothing but a long, black, ugly roof, covered with burnt- 
out feathery sparks ; above which tower two iron chimneys, and 
a hoarse escape valve, and a glass steerage house. Then, in 
order as the eye descends towards the water, are the sides, and 
doors, and windows of the state-rooms, jumbled as oddly together 
as though they formed a small street, built by the varying tastes 
of a dozen men : the whole is supported on beams and pillars 
resting on a dirty barge, but a few inches above the water's 
edge : and in the narrow space between this upper structure 
and this barge's deck are the furnace fires and machinery, open 
at the sides to every wind that blows, and every storm of rain 
it drives along its path. | 

Passing one of these boats at night, and seeing the great 
body of fire, exposed as I have just described, that rages and 
roars beneath the frail pile of painted wood : the machinery not 
warded off or guarded in any way, but doing its work in the 
midst of the crowd of idlers and emigrants and children who 
throng the lower deck : under the management, too, of reckless 
men whose acquaintance with its mysteries may have been of 
six months' standing : one feels directly that the wonder is, not 
that there should be so many fatal accidents, but that any 
journey should be safely made. 

Within, there is one long narrow cabin, the whole length of 
the boat ; from which the state-rooms open on both sides. A 
small portion of it at the stern is partitioned off for the ladies j 



1 84 AMERICAN NOTES 

and the bar is at the opposite extreme. There is a long table 
down the centre, and at either end a stove. The washing 
apparatus is forward, on the deck. It is a little better than on 
board the canal boat, but not much. In all modes of travelling, 
the American customs, with reference to the means of personal 
cleanliness and wholesome ablution, are extremely negligent and 
filthy ; and I strongly incline to the belief that a considerable 
amount of illness is, referable to this cause. 

We are to be on board the Messenger three days : arriving 
at Cincinnati (barring accidents) on Monday morning. There 
are three meals a day. Breakfast at seven, dinner at half-past 
twelve, supper about six. At each there are a great many small 
dishes and plates upon the table, with very little in them ; so 
that, although there is every appearance of a mighty " spread," 
there is seldom really more than a joint : except for those who 
fancy slices of beet-root, shreds of dried beef, complicated entan- 
glements of yellow pickle, maize, Indian corn, apple sauce, and 
pumpkin. 

Some people fancy all these little dainties together (and sweet 
preserves besides), by way of relish to their roast pig. They 
are generally those dyspeptic ladies and gentlemen who eat 
unheard-of quantities of hot corn bread (almost as good for the 
digestion as a kneaded pincushion) for breakfast and for supper. 
Those who do not observe this custom, and who help themselves 
several times instead, usually suck their knives and forks medi- 
tatively until they have decided what to take next ; then pull 
them out of their mouths ; put them in the dish ; help them- 
selves ; and fall to work again. At dinner there is nothing to 
drink upon the table but great jugs full of cold water. Nobody 
says anything, at any meal, to anybody. All the passengers 
are very dismal, and seem to have tremendous secrets weighing 
on their minds. There is no conversation, no laughter, no 
cheerfulness, no sociality, except in spitting ; and that is done 
in silent fellowship round the stove, when the meal is over. 
Every man sits down dull and languid ; swallows his fare as if 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 185 

breakfasts, dinners, and suppers were necessities of nature never 
to be coupled with recreation or enjoyment ; and, having bolted 
his food in a gloomy silence, bolts himself in the same state. 
But for these animal observances, you might suppose the whole 
male portion of the company to be the melancholy ghosts of 
departed book-keepers, who had fallen dead at the desk : such is 
their weary air of business and calculation. Undertakers on 
duty would be sprightly beside them ; and a collation of funeral 
baked meats, in comparison with these meals, would be a spark- 
ling festivity. 

The people are all alike, too. There is no diversity of 
character. They travel about on the same errands, say and do 
the same things in exactly the same manner, and follow in the 
same dull, cheerless round. All down the long table there is 
scarcely a man who is in anything different from his neighbour. 
It is quite a relief to have, sitting opposite, that little girl of 
fifteen with the loquacious chin : who, to do her justice, acts up to 
it, and fully identifies Nature's handwriting ; for, of all the small 
chatterboxes that ever invaded the repose of drowsy ladies' cabin, 
she is the first and foremost. The beautiful girl who sits a little 
beyond her — farther down the table there — married the young 
man with the dark whiskers, who sits beyond her, only last 
month. They are going to settle in the very Far West, where 
he has lived four years, but where she has never been. They 
were both overturned in a stage-coach the other day (a bad 
omen anywhere else, where overturns are not so common), and 
his head, which bears the marks of a recent wound, is bound up 
still. She was hurt, too, at the same time, and lay insensible 
for some days ; bright as her eyes are now. 

Further down still, sits a man who is going some miles beyond 
their place of destination to "improve" a newly-discovered 
copper mine. He carries the village — that is to be — with him : 
a few frame cottages, and an apparatus for smelting the copper. 
He carries its people too. They are partly American and partly 
Irish, and herd together on the lower deck ; where they amused 



1 86 AMERICAN NOTES 

themselves last evening till the night was pretty far advanced; 
by alternately firing off pistols and singing hymns. 

They, and the very few who have been left at table twenty 
minutes, rise and go away. We do so too ; and, passing 
through our little state-room, resume our seats in the quiet 
gallery without. 

A fine broad river always, but in some parts much wider 
than in others : and then there is usually a green island covered 
with trees, dividing it into two streams. Occasionally we stop 
for a few minutes, maybe to take in wood, maybe for passengers, 
at some small town or Village (I ought to say city, every place 
is a city here) ; but the banks are for the most part deep soli- 
tudes, overgrown with trees, which, hereabouts, are already in 
leaf and very green. For miles, and miles, and miles, these 
solitudes are unbroken by any sign of human life or trace of 
human footstep ; nor is anything seen to move about them but 
the blue jay, whose colour is so bright, and yet so delicate, that 
it looks like a flying flower. At lengthened intervals a log- 
cabin, with its little space of cleared land about it, nestles under 
a rising ground, and sends its thread of blue smoke curling up 
into the sky. It stands in the corner of the poor field of wheat, 
which is full of great unsightly stumps, like earthy butchers' 
blocks. Sometimes the ground is only just now cleared : the 
felled trees lying yet upon the soil : and the log-house only this 
morning begun. As we pass this clearing, the settler leans 
upon his axe or hammer, and looks wistfully at the people from 
the world. Tbe children creep out of the temporary hut, which 
is like a gipsy tent upon the ground, and clap their hands and 
shout. The dog only glances round at us ; and then looks up 
into his master's face again, as if he were rendered uneasy by 
any suspension of the common business, and had nothing more 
to do with pleasurers. And still there is the same eternal fore- 
ground. The river has washed away its banks, and stately trees 
have fallen down into the stream. Some have been there so 
long, that they are mere dry, grizzly skeletons. Some have just 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 87 

•toppled over, arid, having earth yet about their roots, are bathing 
their green heads in the river, and putting forth new shoots and 
branches. Some are almost sliding down as you look at them. 
And some were drowned so long ago, that their bleached arms 
start out from the middle of the current, and seem to try to 
grasp the boat, and drag it under water. 

Through such a scene as this the unwieldy machine takes its 
hoarse sullen way ; venting, at every revolution of the paddles, 
a loud high-pressure blast ; enough, one would think, to waken 
up the host of Indians who lie buried in a great mound yonder : 
so old, that mighty oaks and other forest trees have struck their 
roots into its earth ; and so high, that it is a hill even among 
the hills that Nature planted round it. The very river, as 
though it shared one's feelings of compassion for the extinct 
tribes who lived so pleasantly here, in their blessed ignorance 
of white existence, hundreds of years ago, steals out of its way 
to ripple near this mound : and there are few places where the 
Ohio sparkles more brightly than in the Big Grave Creek. 

All this I see as I sit in the little stern-gallery mentioned 
just now. Evening slowly steals upon the landscape, and 
changes it before me, when we stop to set some emigrants 
. ashore. 

Five men, as many women, and a little girl. All their 
worldly goods are a bag, a large chest, and an old chair : one 
old, high-backed, rush-bottomed chair : a solitary settler in 
itself. They are rowed ashore in the boat, while the vessel 
stands a little off awaiting its return, the water being shallow. 
They are landed at the foot of a high bank, on the summit of 
which are a few log-cabins, attainable only by a long winding 
path. It is growing dusk ; but the sun is very red, and shines 
in the water, and on some of the tree-tops, like fire. 

The men get out of the boat first ; help out the women ; 
take out the bag, the chest, the chair ; bid the rowers " good- 
bye ; " and shove the boat off for them. At the first plash of 
the oars in the water, the oldest woman of the party sits down 



1 88 AMERICAN NOTES 

in the old chair, close to the water's edge, without speaking a 
word. None of the others sit down, though the chest is large 
enough for many seats. They all stand where they landed, as 
if stricken into stone ; and look after the boat. So they 
remain, quite still and silent : the old woman and her old chair 
in the centre ; the bag and chest upon the shore, without any- 
body heeding them : all eyes fixed upon the boat. It comes 
alongside, is made fast, the men jump on board, the engine is 
put in motion, and we go hoarsely on again. There they stand 
yet, without the motion of a hand. I can see them, through 
my glass, when, in the distance and increasing darkness, they 
are mere specks to the eye : lingering there still : the old 
woman in the old chair, and all the rest about her : not 
stirring in the least degree. And thus I slowly lose them. 

The night is dark, and we proceed within the shadow of the 
wooded bank, which makes it darker. After gliding past the 
sombre maze of boughs for a long time, we come upon an open 
space where the tall trees are burning. The shape of every 
branch and twig is expressed in a deep red glow, and as the 
light wind stirs and ruffles it, they seem to vegetate in fire. It 
is such a sight as we read of in legends of enchanted forests : 
saving that it is sad to see these noble works wasting away so 
awfully, alone ; and to think how many years must come and 
go before the magic that created them will rear their like upon 
this ground again. But the time will come : and when, in 
their changed ashes, the growth of centuries unborn has struck 
its roots, the' restless men of distant ages will repair to these 
again unpeopled solitudes ; and their fellows, in cities far away, 
that slumber now, perhaps, beneath the rolling sea, will read, 
in language strange to any ears in being now, but very old to 
them, of primeval forests where the axe was never heard, 
and where the jungled ground was never trodden by a human 
foot. 

Midnight and sleep blot out these scenes and thoughts : and 
when the morning shines again, it gilds the housetops of a 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 1 89 

lively city, before whose broad paved wharf the boat is moored : 
with other boats, and flags, and moving wheels, and hum of 
men around it ; as though there were not a solitary or silent 
rood of ground within the compass of a thousand miles. 

Cincinnati is a beautiful city; cheerful, thriving, and ani- 
mated. I have not often seen a place that commends itself so 
favourably and pleasantly to a stranger at the first glance as 
this does : with its clean houses of red and white, its well- 
paved roads, and footways of bright tile. Nor does it become 
less prepossessing on a closer acquaintance. The streets are 
broad and airy, the shops extremely good, the private residences 
remarkable for their elegance and neatness. There is some- 
thing of invention and fancy in the varying styles of these 
latter erections, which, after the dull company of the steamboat, 
is perfectly delightful, as conveying an assurance that there are 
such qualities still in existence. The disposition to ornament 
these pretty villas, and render them attractive, leads to the 
culture of trees and flowers, and the laying out of well-kept 
gardens, the sight of which, to those who walk along the 
streets, is inexpressibly refreshing and agreeable. I was quite 
charmed with the appearance of the town, and its adjoining 
suburb of Mount Auburn ; from which the city, lying in an 
amphitheatre of hills, forms a picture of remarkable beauty, and 
is seen to great advantage. 

There happened to be a great Temperance Convention held 
here on the day after our arrival ; and as the order of march 
brought the procession under the windows of the hotel in which 
we lodged, when they started in the morning, I had a good 
opportunity of seeing it. It comprised several thousand men ; 
the members of various " Washington Auxiliary Temperance 
Societies ;" and was marshalled by officers on horseback, who 
cantered briskly up and clown the line, with scarfs and ribbons 
of bright colours fluttering out behind them gaily. There were 
bands of music, too, and banners out of number : and it was a 
fresh, holiday-looking concourse altogether. 



190 AMERICAN NOTES 

I was particularly pleased to see the Irishmen, who formed a 
distinct society among themselves, and mustered very strong 
with their green scarfs ; carrying their national Harp, and their 
Portrait of Father Mathew, high above the people's heads. 
They looked as jolly and good-humoured as ever ; and working 
(here) the hardest for their living, and doing any kind of sturdy 
labour that came in their way, were the most independent 
fellows there, I thought. 

The banners were very well painted, and flaunted down the 
street famously. There was the smiting of the rock, and the 
gushing forth of the waters ; and there was a temperate man 
with "considerable of a hatchet" (as the standard-bearer would 
probably have said), aiming a deadly blow at a serpent which 
was apparently about to spring upon him from the top of a 
barrel of spirits. But the chief feature of this part of the show 
was a huge allegorical device, borne among the ship carpenters, 
on one side whereof the steamboat Alcohol was represented 
bursting her boiler and exploding with a great crash, while 
upon the other, the good ship Temperance sailed away with a 
fair wind, to the heart's content of the captain, crew, and 
passengers. 

After going round the town, the procession repaired to a 
certain appointed place, where, as the printed programme set 
forth, it would be received by the children of the different free- 
schools, " singing Temperance Songs." I was prevented from 
getting there in time to hear these Little Warblers, or to report 
upon this novel kind of vocal entertainment : novel, at least, to 
me : but I found, in a large open space, each society gathered 
round its own banners, and listening in silent attention to its' 
own orator. The speeches, judging from the little I could hear 
of them, were certainly adapted to the occasion, as having that' 
degree of relationship to cold water which wet blankets may 
claim : but the main thing was the conduct and appearance of 
the audience throughout the day, and that was admirable and 
full of promise. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. tqi 

Cincinnati is honourably famous for its free-schools, of which 
it has so many that no person's child among its population can, 
by possibility, want the means of education, which are extended, 
upon an average, to four thousand pupils annually. I was only 
present in one of these establishments during the hours of 
instruction. In the boys' department, which was full of little 
urchins (varying in their ages, I should say, from six years old 
to ten or twelve), the master offered to institute an extemporary 
examination of the pupils in algebra ; a proposal which, as I 
was by no means confident of my ability to detect mistakes 
in that science, I declined with some alarm. In the girls' 
school, reading was proposed ; and, as I felt tolerably equal 
to that art, I expressed my willingness to hear a class. Books 
were distributed accordingly, and some half-dozen girls relieved 
each other in reading paragraphs from English history. But 
it seemed to be a dry compilation, infinitely above their 
powers ; and when they had blundered through three or four 
dreary passages concerning the treaty of Amiens, and other 
thrilling topics of the same nature (obviously without com- 
prehending ten words), I expressed myself quite satisfied. It 
is very possible that they only mounted to this exalted stave 
in the Ladder of Learning for the astonishment of a visitor ; 
and that at other times they keep upon its lower rounds ; 
but I should have been much better pleased and satisfied if 
I had heard them exercised in simpler lessons which they under- 
stood. 

As in every other place I visited, the Judges here were 
gentlemen of high character and attainments. I was in one of 
the courts for a few minutes, and found it like those to which 
I have already referred. A nuisance cause was trying ; there 
were not many spectators ; and the witnesses, counsel, and 
jury formed a sort of family circle, sufficiently jocose and snug. 

The society with which I mingled was intelligent, courteous, 
and agreeable. The inhabitants of Cincinnati are proud of 
their city, as one of the most interesting in America : and with 



102 AMERICAN NOTES 

good reason : for beautiful and thriving as it is ndw, and con- 
taining, as it does, a population of fifty thousand souls, but two- 
and-fifty years have passed away since the ground on which it 
stands (bought at that time for a few dollars) was a wild wood, 
and its citizens were but a handful of dwellers in scattered log- 
huts upon the river's shore. 



CHAPTER XII. 

FROM CINCINNATI TO LOUISVILLE IN ANOTHER WESTERN STEAMBOAT; AND PBOM 
LOUISVILLE TO ST. LOUIS IN ANOTHER. ST. LOUIS. 

T EAVING Cincinnati at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, we 
embarked for Louisville in the Pike steamboat, which, 
carrying the mails, was a packet of a much better class than 
that in which we had come from Pittsburg. As this passage 
does not occupy more than twelve or thirteen hours, we 
arranged to go ashore that night : not coveting the distinction 
of sleeping in a state-room, when it was possible to sleep any- 
where else. 

There chanced to be on board this boat; in addition to the 
usual dreary crowd of passengers, one Pitchlynn, a chief of the 
Choctaw tribe of Indians, who sent in his card to me, and with 
whom I had the pleasure of a long conversation. 

He spoke English perfectly well, though he had not begun 
to learn the language, he told me, until he was a young man 
grown. He had read many books ; and Scott's poetry appeared 
to have left a strong impression on his mind : especially the 
opening of The Lady of the Lake, and the great battle scene in 
Marmion, in which, no doubt from the congeniality of the 
subjects to his own pursuits and tastes, he had great interest 
and delight. He appeared to understand correctly all he had 
read ; and whatever fiction had enlisted his sympathy in its 
belief, had done so keenly and earnestly. I might almost say 
fiercely. He was dressed in our ordinary every-day costume, 
which hung about his fine figure loosely, and with indifferent 
grace. On my telling him that I regretted not to see him in 

o 



194 AMERICAN NOTES 

his own attire, lie threw up his right arm for a moment, as 
though he were brandishing some heavy weapon, and answered, 
as he let it fall again, that his race were losing many things 
besides their dress, and would soon be seen upon the earth nc 
more : but he wore it at home, he added proudly. 

He told me that he had been away from his home, west of 
the Mississippi, seventeen months : and was now returning. He 
had been chiefly at "Washington on some negotiations pending 
between his Tribe and the Government : which were not settled 
yet (he said in a melancholy Avay), and he feared never would 
be : for what could a few poor Indians do against such well- 
skilled men of business as the whites ? He had no love for 
Washington ; tired of towns and cities very soon ; and longed 
for the Forest and the Prairie. 

I asked him what he thought of Congress ? He answered, 
with a smile, that it wanted dignity in an Indian's eyes. 

He would very much like, he said, to see England before he 
died ; and spoke with much interest about the great things to 
be seen there. When I told him of that chamber in the British 
Museum wherein are preserved household memorials of a race 
that ceased to be, thousands of years ago, he was very attentive, 
and it was not hard to see that he had a reference in his mind 
to the gradual fading away of his own people. 

This led us to speak of Mr. Catlin's gallery, which he praised 
highly : observing that his own portrait was among the collec- 
tion, and that all the likenesses were " elegant." Mr. Cooper, 
he said, had painted the Eed Man well ; and so would I, he 
know, if I would go- home with him and hunt buffaloes, which 
he was quite anxious I should do. When I told him that, sup- 
posing I went, I should not be very likely to damage the 
buffaloes much, he took it as a great joke and laughed 
heartily. 

He was a remarkably handsome man ; some years past forty 
I should judge ; with long black hair, an aquiline nose, broad 
cheek bones, a sunburnt complexion, and a very bright, keen, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. lc,5 

dark, and piercing eye. There were but twenty thousand of the 
Choctaws left, he said, and their number was decreasing every 
day, A few of his brother chiefs had been obliged to become 
civilised, and to make themselves acquainted with what the 
whites knew, for it was their only chance of existence. But 
they were not many ; and the rest were as they always had 
been. He dwelt on this : and said several times that unless 
they tried to assimilate themselves to their conquerors, they 
must be swept away before the strides of civilised society. 

When we shook hands at parting, I told him he must come 
to England, as he longed to see the land so much : that I should 
hope to see him there one day : and that I could promise him 
he would be well received and kindly treated. He was evidently 
pleased by this assurance, though he rejoined, with a good- 
humoured smile and an arch shake of his head, that the English 
used to be very fond of the Red Men when they wanted their 
help, but had not cared much for them since. 

He took his leave ; as stately and complete a gentleman of 
Nature's making as ever I beheld ; and moved among the people 
in the boat, another kind of being. He sent me a lithographed 
portrait of himself soon afterwards ; very like, though scarcely 
handsome enough ; which I have carefully preserved in memory 
of our brief acquaintance. 

There was nothing very interesting in the scenery of this 
day's journey, which brought us at midnight to Louisville. We 
slept at the Gait House ; a splendid hotel ; and were as hand- 
somely lodged as though we had been in Paris, rather than 
hundreds of miles beyond the Alleghanies. 

The city presenting no objects of sufficient interest to detain 
us on our way, we resolved to proceed next day by another 
steamboat, the Fulton, and to join it, about noon, at a suburb 
called Portland, where it would be delayed some time in passing 
through a canal. 

The interval, after breakfast, we devoted to riding through 
the town, which is regular and cheerful : the streets being laid 

o 2 



t9& AMERICAN NdTE9 

out at right angles, and planted with young trees. The build- 
ings are smoky and blackened, from the use of bituminous coal, 
but an Englishman is well used to that appearance, and indis- 
posed to quarrel with it. There did not appear to be much 
business stirring ; and some unfinished buildings and improve- 
ments seemed to intimate that the city had been over-built in 
the ardour of " going ahead," and was suffering under the reac- 
tion consequent upon such feverish forcing of its powers. 

On our way to Portland we passed a " Magistrate's Office," 
which amused me, as looking far more like a dame school than 
any police establishment : for this awful Institution was nothing 
but a little, lazy, good-for-nothing front parlour, open to the 
street ; wherein two or three figures (I presume the magistrate 
and his myrmidons) were basking in the sunshine, the very 
effigies of languor and repose. It was a perfect picture of 
Justice retired from business for want of customers ; her sword 
and scales sold off ; napping comfortably with her legs upon the 
table. 

Here, as elsewhere in these parts, the road was perfectly alive 
with pigs of all ages ; lying about in every direction, fast asleep ; 
or grunting along in quest of hidden dainties. I had always a 
sneaking kindness for these odd animals, and found a constant 
source of amusement, when all others failed, in watching their 
proceedings. As we were riding along this morning, I observed 
a little incident between two youthful pigs, which was so very 
human as to be inexpressibly comical and grotesque at the time, 
though, I dare say, in telling, it is tame enough. 

One young gentleman (a very delicate porker with several 
straws sticking about his nose, betokening recent investigations 
in a dunghill), was walking deliberately on, profoundly thinking, 
when suddenly his brother, who was lying in a miry hole unseen 
by bim, rose up immediately before his startled eyes, ghostly 
with damp mud. Never was pig's whole mass of blood so 
turned. He started back at least three feet, gazed for a moment, 
and then shot off as hard as he could go.: his excessively littlo 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 197 

tail vibrating with speed and terror like a distracted pendulum. 
But, before he had gone very far, he began to reason with him- 
self as to the nature of this frightful appearance ; and as he 
reasoned, he relaxed his speed by gradual degrees ; until at last 
he stopped, and faced about. There was his brother, with the 
mud upon him glazing in the sun, yet staring out of the very 
same hole, perfectly amazed at his proceedings ! He was no 
sooner assured of this ; and he assured himself so carefully that 
one may almost say he shaded his eyes with his hand to see the 
better ; than he came back at a round trot, pounced upon him, 
and summarily took off a piece of his tail ; as a caution to him 
to be careful what he was about for the future, and never to 
play tricks with his family any more. 

We found the steamboat in the canal, waiting for the slow 
process of getting through the lock, and went on board, where 
we shortly afterwards had a new kind of visitor in the person of 
a certain Kentucky Giant whose name is Porter, and who is 
of the moderate height of seven feet eight inches in his 
stockings. 

There never was a race of people who so completely gave the 
lie to history as these giants, or whom all the chroniclers have 
so cruelly libelled. Instead of roaring and ravaging about the 
world, constantly catering for their cannibal larders, and per- 
petually going to market in an unlawful manner, they are the 
meekest people in any man's acquaintance : rather inclining to 
milk and vegetable diet, and bearing anything for a quiet life. 
So decidedly are amiability and mildness their characteristics, 
that I confess I look upon that youth who distinguished himself 
by the slaughter of these inoffensive persons as a false-hearted 
brigand, who, pretending to philanthropic motives, was secretly 
influenced only by the wealth stored up within their castles, and 
the hope of plunder. And I lean the more to this opinion 
from finding that even the historian of those exploits, with all 
his partiality for his hero, is fain to admit that the slaughtered 
monsters in question were of a very innocent and simple turn ; 



1 98 AMERICAN NOTES 

extremely guileless and ready of belief ; lending a credulous ear 
to the most improbable tales ; suffering themselves to be easily 
entrapped into pits ; and even (as in the case of the Welsh 
Giant), with an excess of the hospitable politeness of a landlord, 
ripping themselves open, rather than hint at the possibility of 
their guests being versed in the vagabond arts of sleight-of-hand 
and hocus-pocus. 

The Kentucky Giant was but another illustration of the truth 
of this position. He had a weakness in the region of the knees, 
and a trustfulness in his long face, which appealed even to five- 
feet-nine for encouragement and support. He was only twenty- 
five years old, he said, and had grown recently, for it had been 
found necessary to make an addition to the legs of his inex- 
pressibles. At fifteen he was a short boy, and in those days his 
English father and his Irish mother had rather snubbed him, as 
being too small of stature to sustain the credit of the family. 
He added that his health had not been good, though it was 
better now ; but short people are not wanting who whisper that 
he drinks too hard. 

I understand he drives a hackney coach, though how he does 
it, unless he stands on the foot-board behind, and lies along the 
roof upon his chest, with his chin in the box, it would be diffi- 
cult to comprehend. He brought his gun with him, as a 
curiosity. Christened " The Little Kifle," and displayed out- 
side a shop-window, it would make the fortune of any retail 
business in Holborn. When he had shown himself and talked a 
little while, he withdrew with his pocket instrument, and went 
bobbing down the cabin, among men of six feet high and 
upwards, like a lighthouse walking among lamp-posts. 

Within a few minutes afterwards we were out of the canal, 
and in the Ohio Eiver again. 

The arrangements of the boat were like those of the Messenger, 
and the passengers were of the same order of people. We fed 
at the same times, on the same kind of viands, in the same dull 
manner, and with the same observances. The company appeared 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. ig9 

to be oppressed by the same tremendous concealments, and had 
as little capacity of enjoyment or light-heartedness. I never in 
my life did see such listless, heavy dulness as brooded over these 
meals : the very recollection of it weighs me down, and makes 
me, for the moment, wretched. Beading and writing on my 
knee, in our little cabin, I really dreaded the coming of the hour 
that summoned us to table ; and was as glad to escape from it 
again as if it had been a penance or a punishment. Healthy 
cheerfulness and good spirits forming a part of the banquet, I 
could soak my crusts in the fountain with Le Sage's strolling 
player, and revel in their glad enjoyment : but sitting down with 
so many fellow-animals to ward off thirst and hunger as a busi- 
ness ; to empty each creature his Yahoo's trough as quickly as 
he can, and then slink sullenly away ; to have these social 
sacraments stripped of everything but the mere greedy satis- 
faction of the natural cravings ; goes so. against the grain with 
me, that I seriously believe the recollection of these funeral 
feasts will be a waking nightmare to me all my life. 

There was some relief in this boat, too, which there had not 
been in the other, for the captain (a blunt, good-natured fellow) 
had his handsome wife with him, who was disposed to be lively 
and agreeable, as were a few other lady passengers who had 
their seats about us at the same end of the table. But nothing 
could have made head against the depressing influence of the 
general body. There was a magnetism of dulness in them which 
would have beaten down the most facetious companion that the 
earth ever knew. A jest would have been a crime, and a smile 
would have faded into a grinning horror. Such deadly leaden 
people; such systematic, plodding, weary, insupportable heavi- 
ness ; such a mass of animated indigestion in respect of all that 
was genial, jovial, frank, social, or hearty ; never, sure, was 
brought together elsewhere since the world began. 

Nor was the scenery, as we approached the junction of the 
Ohio and Mississippi Kivers, at all inspiriting in its influence. 
The trees were stunted in their growth ; the banks were low and 



200 AMERICAN NOTES 

flat ; the settlements and log-cabins fewer in number : their 
inhabitants more wan and wretched than any we 'had encoun- 
tered yet. No songs of birds were in the air, no pleasant scents, 
no moving lights and shadows from swift-passing clouds. Hour 
after hour, the changeless glare of the hot, unwinking sky shone 
upon the same monotonous objects. Hour after hour, the river 
rolled along as wearily and slowly as the time itself. 

At length, upon the morning of the third day, we arrived at a 
spot so much more desolate than any we had yet beheld, that 
the forlornest places we had passed were, in comparison with it, 
full of interest. At the junction of the two rivers, on ground 
so flat and low and marshy, that at certain seasons of the year 
it is inundated to the housetops, lies a breeding-place of fever, 
ague, and death ; vaunted in England as a mine of Golden Hope, 
and speculated in, on the faith of monstrous representations, to 
many people's ruin. A dismal swamp, on which the half-built 
houses rot away : cleared here and there for the space of a few 
yards ; and teeming, then, with rank, unwholesome vegetation, 
in whose baleful shade the wretched wanderers who are tempted 
hither droop, and die, and lay their bones ; the hateful Mississippi 
circling and eddying before it, and turning off upon its southern 
course, a slimy monster hideous to behold ; a hotbed of disease, 
an ugly sepulchre, a grave uncheered by any gleam of promise : 
a place without one single quality, in earth or air or water, to 
commend it : such is this dismal Cairo. 

But what words shall describe the Mississippi, great father of 
rivers, who (praise be to Heaven !) has no young children like 
him ? An enormous ditch, sometimes two or three miles wide, 
running liquid mud, six miles an hour : its strong and frothy 
current choked and obstructed everywhere by huge logs and 
whole forest trees : now twining themselves together in great 
rafts, from the interstices of which a sedgy, lazy foam works up, 
to" float upon the water's top : now rolling past like monstrous 
bodies, their tangled roots showing like matted hair ; now 
glancing singly by like giant leeches ; and now writhing round 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 201 

and round in the vortex of some small whirlpool like wounded 
shakes. The banks low, the trees dwarfish, the marshes 
swarming with frogs, the wretched cabins few and far apart, 
their inmates hollow-cheeked and pale, the weather very hot, 
mosquitoes penetrating into every crack and crevice of the boat, 
mud and slime on everything : nothing pleasant in its aspect, 
but the harmless lightning which flickers every night upon the 
dark horizon. 

For two days we toiled up this foul stream, striking constantly 
against the floating timber, or stopping to avoid those more 
dangerous obstacles, the snags, or sawyers, which are the hidden 
trunks of trees that have their roots below the tide. When the 
nights are very dark, the look-out stationed in the head of the 
boat knows, by the ripple of the water, if any great impediment 
be near at hand, and rings a bell beside him, which is the signal 
for the engine to be stopped ; but always in the night this bell 
has work to do, and, after every ring, there comes a blow which 
renders it no easy matter to remain in bed. 

The decline of day here was very gorgeous ; tinging the firma- 
ment deeply with red and gold, up to the very keystone of the 
arch above us. As the sub. went down behind the bank, the 
slightest blades of grass upon it seemed to become as distinctly 
visible as the arteries in the skeleton of a leaf, and when, as it 
slowly sank, the red and golden bars upon the water grew 
dimmer, and dimmer yet, as if they were sinking too ; and all 
the glowing colours of departing day paled, inch by inch, before 
the sombre night ; the scene became a thousand times more 
lonesome and more dreary than before, and all its influences 
darkened with the sky. 

We drank the muddy water of this river while we were upon 
it. It is considered wholesome by the natives, and is something 
more opaque than gruel. I have seen water like it at the Filter 
shops, but nowhere else. 

On the fourth night after leaving Louisville we reached St. 
Louis, and here I witnessed the conclusion of an incident, trifling 



i02 AMERICAN NOTES 

enough in itself, but very pleasant to see, which had interested 
me during the whole journey. 

There was a little woman on board, with a little baby ; and 
both little woman and little child were cheerful, good-looking, 
bright-eyed, and fair to see. The little woman had been passing 
a long time with her sick mother in New York, and had left her 
home in St. Louis in that condition in which ladies who truly 
love their lords desire to be. The baby was born in her 
mother's house ; and she had not seen her husband (to whom 
she was now returning) for twelve months : having left him a 
month or two after their marriage. 

Well, to be sure there never was a little woman so full of 
hope, and tenderness, and love, and anxiety as this little woman 
was : and all day long she wondered whether " He" would be 
at the wharf; and whether "He" had got her letter; and 
whether, if she sent the baby ashore by somebody else, " He " 
would know it, meeting it in the street : which, seeing that he 
had never set eyes upon it in his life, was not very likely in the 
abstract, but was probable enough to the young mother. She 
was such an artless little creature ; and was in such a sunny, 
beaming, hopeful state ; and let out all this matter, clinging 
close about her heart, so freely ; that all the other lady pas- 
sengers entered into the spirit of it as much as she ; and the 
captain (who heard all about it from his wife) was wondrous 
sly, I promise you : inquiring, every time we met at table, as in 
forgetfulness, whether she expected anybody to meet her at St. 
Louis, and whether she would want to go ashore the night we 
reached it (but he supposed she wouldn't), and cutting many 
other dry jokes of that nature. There was one little, weazen, 
dried-apple-faced old woman, who took occasion to doubt the 
constancy of husbands in such circumstances of bereavement ; 
and there was another lady (with a lapdog) old enough to 
moralise on the lightness of human affections, and yet not so 
old that she could help nursing the baby now and then, or 
laughing with the rest when the little woman called it by its 




THE LITTLE WIFE, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 203 

father's name, and asked it all manner of fantastic questions 
concerning him in the joy of her heart. 

It was something of a blow to the little woman, that when wt 
wcra within twenty miles of our destination, it became clearly 
n pessary to put this baby to bed. But she got over it with 
the same good-humour ; tied a handkerchief round her head ; 
and came out into the little gallery with the rest. Then, such 
aa oracle as she became in reference to the localities ! and such 
facetiousness as was displayed by the married ladies ! and such 
sympathy as was shown by the single ones ! and such peals of 
laughter as the little woman herself (who would just as soon 
have cried) greeted every jest with ! 

At last there were the lights of St. Louis, and here was the 
wharf, and those were the steps : and the little woman, covering 
her face with her hands, and laughing (or seeming to laugh) 
more than ever, ran into her own cabin, and shut herself up. I 
have no doubt that, in the charming inconsistency of such excite- 
ment, she stopped her ears, lest she should hear " Him " asking 
for her : but I did not see her do it. 

Then, a great crowd of people rushed on board, though the 
boat was not yet made fast, but was wandering about, among 
the other boats, to find a landing-place : and everybody looked 
for the husband : and nobody saw him : when, in the midst of 
us all — Heaven knows how she ever got there— there was the 
little woman clinging with both arms tight round the neck of a 
fine, good-looking, sturdy young fellow ! and, in a moment after- 
wards, there she was again, actually clapping her little hands for 
joj', as she dragged him through the small door of her small 
cabin, to look at the baby as he lay asleep ! 

We went to a large hotel, called the Planter's House : built 
like an English hospital, with long passages and bare walls, and 
sky-lights above the room-doors for the free circulation of air. 
There were a great many boarders in it ; and as many lights 
sparkled and glistened from the windows down into the street 
below, when we drove up, as if it had been illuminated on some 



204 AMERICAN NOTES 

occasion of rejoicing. It is an excellent house, and the pro- 
prietors have most bountiful notions of providing the creature 
comforts. Dining alone with my wife in our own room one day, 
I counted fourteen dishes on the table at once. 

In the old French portion of the town the thoroughfares are 
narrow and crooked, and some of the houses are very quaint and 
picturesque : being built of wood, with tumble-down galleries 
before the windows, approachable by stairs, or rather ladders, 
from the street. There are queer little barbers' shops, and 
drinking-houses too, in this quarter ; and abundance of crazy 
old tenements with blinking casements, such as may be seen in 
Flanders. Some of these ancient habitations, with high garret 
gablo windows perking into the roofs, have a kind of French 
shrug about them; and, being lop-sided with age,. appear to 
hold their heads askew besides, as if they were grimacing in 
astonishment at the American Improvements. 

It is hardly necessary to say that these consist of wharfs and 
warehouses, and new buildings in all directions ; and of a great 
many vast plans which are still " progressing." Already, how- 
ever, some very good houses, broad streets, and marble-fronted 
shops have gone so far ahead as to be in a state of completion ; 
and the town bids fair, in a few years, to improve considerably : 
though it is not likely ever to vie, in point of elegance or beauty, 
with Cincinnati. 

The Roman Catholic religion, introduced here by the early 
French settlers, prevails extensively. Among the public insti- 
tutions are a Jesuit College ; a convent for " the Ladies of the 
Sacred Heart ;" and a large chapel attached to" the college, which 
was in course of erection at the time of my visit, and was 
intended to be consecrated on the second of December in the 
next year. The architect of this building is one of the reverend 
fathers of the school, and the works proceed under his sole 
direction. The organ will be sent from Belgium. 

In addition to these establishments, there is a Roman Catholic 
cathedral, dedicated to St. Francis Xavier ; and a hospital, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 205 

founded by the munificence of a deceased resident, who was a 
member of that church. It also, sends missionaries from hence 
among the Indian tribes. 

The Unitarian church is represented, in this remote place, as 
in most other parts of America, by a gentleman of great worth 
and excellence. The poor have good reason to remember and 
bless it ; for it befriends them, and aids the cause of rational 
education, without any sectarian or selfish views. It is liberal 
in all its actions ; of kind construction ; and of wide benevolence. 
There are three free-schools already erected and in full opera- 
tion in this city. A fourth is building, and will soon be opened. 
No man ever admits the unhealthiness of the place he dwells 
in (unless he is "going away from it), and I shall therefore, I 
have no doubt, be at issue with the inhabitants of St. Louis in 
questioning the perfect salubrity of its climate, and in hinting 
that I think it must rather dispose to fever in the summer and 
autumnal seasons. Just adding, that it is very hot, lies among 
great rivers, and has vast tracts of undrained swampy land 
around it, I leave the reader to form his own opinion. 

As I had a great desire to see a Prairie before turning back 
from the furthest point of my wanderings ; and as some gentle- 
men of the town had, in their hospitable consideration, an equal 
desire to gratify me ; a day was fixed, before my departure, for 
an expedition to the Lookiug-Glass Prairie, which k within 
thirty miles of the town. Deeming it possible that my readers 
mav not object to know what kind of thing such a gipsy part3 r 
may be at that distance from home, and among what sort of 
objects it moves, I will describe the jaunt in another' chapter. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

A JAUNT TO THE LOOKING-GLASS PRAIRIE AND BACK. 

T MAY premise that the word Prairie is variously pronounced 
-*- paraaer, parearer, and paroarer. The latter n.ole of pro- 
nunciation is, perhaps, the most in favour. 

We were fourteen in all, and all young men : indeed, it is a 
singular though very natural feature in the society of these 
distant settlements, that it is mainly composed of adventurous 
persons in the prime of life, and has very few grey heads among 
it. There were no ladies : the trip being a fatiguing one : and 
we were to start at five o'clock in the morning punctually. 

I was called at four, that I might be certain of keeping 
nobody waiting ; and having got some bread-and-milk for break- 
fast, threw up the window and looked down into the street, 
expecting to see the whole party busily astir, and great prepara- 
tions going on below. But, as everything was very quiet, and the 
street presented that hopeless aspect with which five o'clock in 
the morning is familiar elsewhere, I deemed it as well to go to 
bed again, and went accordingly. 

I awoke again at seven o'clock, and by that time the party 
Lad assembled, and were gathered round, one light carriage, 
with a very stout axletree ; one something on wheels like an 
amateur carrier's cart; one double phaeton of great antiquity 
and unearthly construction ; one gig with a great hole in its 
back, and a broken head ; and one rider on horseback, who was 
to go on before. I got into the first coach with three com- 
panions ; the rest bestowed themselves in the other vehicles ; 
two large baskets were made fast to the lightest; two large 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 207 

stone jars in wicker cases, technically known as demi-johns, were 
consigned to the " least rowdy " of the party for safe keeping ; 
and the procession moved off to the ferry-boat, in which it was 
to cross the river bodily, men, horses, carriages, and all, as the 
manner in these parts is. 

We got over the river in due course, and mustered again 
before a little wooden box on wheels, hove down all aslant in a 
morass, with " Merchant tailor " painted in very large letters 
over the door. Having settled the order of proceeding and the 
road to be taken, we started off once more, and began to make 
our way through an ill-favoured Black Hollow, called, less 
expressively, the American Bottom. 

The previous day had been — not to say hot, for the term is 
weak and lukewarm in its power of conveying an idea of the 
temperature. The town had been on fire ; in a blaze. But at 
night it had come on to rain in torrents, and all night long it 
had rained without cessation. We had a pair of very strong 
horses, but travelled at the rate of little more than a couple 
of miles an hour, through one unbroken slough of black mud 
and water. It had no variety but in depth. Now it was 
only half over the wheels, now it hid the axletree, and now 
the coach sank down in it almost to the windows. The air 
resounded in all directions with the loud chirping of the frogs, 
who, with the pigs (a coarse, ugly breed, as unwholesome-looking 
as though they were the spontaneous growth of the country), 
had the whole scene to themselves. Here and there we passed 
a log-hut ; but the' wretched cabins were wide apart and thinly 
3cattered, for though the soil is very rich in this place, few 
people can exist in such a deadly atmosphere. On either side 
of the track, if it deserve the name, was the thick "bush ;" and 
everywhere was stagnant, slimy, rotten, filthy water. 

As it is the custom in these parts to give a horse a gallon or 
so of cold water whenever he is in a foam with heat, we halted 
for that purpose at a log-inn in the wood, far removed from any 
other residence. It consisted of one room, bare-roofed and barer 



208 American notes 

walled of course, with a loft above. The ministering priest was 
a swarthy young savage, in a shirt of cotton print like bed- 
furniture, and a pair of ragged trousers. There were a couple 
of young boys, too, nearly naked, lying idly by the well ; and 
they, and he, and the traveller at the inn, turned out to look 
at us. 

The traveller was an old man, with a grey, grisly beard two 
inches long, a shaggy moustache of the same hue, and enormous 
eyebrows ; which almost obscured his lazy, semi-drunken glance, 
as he stood regarding us with folded arms : poising himself 
alternately upon his toes and heels. On being addressed by 
one of the party, he drew nearer, and said, rubbing his chin 
(which scraped under his horny hand like fresh gravel beneath 
a nailed shoe), that he was from Delaware, and had lately bought 
a farm " down there," pointing into one of the marshes where 
the stunted trees were thickest. He was " going," he added, to 
St. Louis, to fetch his family, whom he had left behind ; but he 
seemed in no great hurry to bring on these encumbrances, for 
when we moved away, he loitered back into the cabin, and was 
plainly bent on stopping there so long as his money lasted. 
He was a great politician, of course, and explained his opinions 
at some length to one of our company ; but I only remember 
that he concluded with two sentiments, one of which was, 
Somebody for ever ; and the other, Blast everybody else ! which 
is by no means a bad abstract of the general creed in these 
matters. 

When the horses were swollen out to about twice their 
natural dimensions (there seems to be an idea here that this 
kind of inflation improves their going), we went forward again, 
through mud and mire, and damp, and festering heat, and brake 
and bush, attended always by the music of the frogs and pigs, 
until nearly noon, when we halted at a place called Belleville. 

Belleville was a small collection of wooden houses, huddled 
together in the very heart of the bush and swamp. Many of 
them had singularly bright doors of red and yellow ; for the 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 20<) 

place had been lately visited by a travelling painter, " who got 
along," as I was told, " by eating his way." The Criminal Court 
was sitting, and was at that moment trying some criminals for 
horse-stealing ; with whom it would most likely go hard : for 
live-stock of all kinds, being necessarily very much exposed in 
the woods, is held by the community in rather higher value 
than human life ; and, for this reason, juries generally make a 
point of finding all men indicted for cattle-stealing guilty, 
whether or no. 

The horses belonging to the bar, the judge, and witnesses 
were tied to temporary racks set up roughly in the road ; by 
which is to be understood a forest path, nearly knee deep in 
mud and slime. 

There was an hotel in this place, which, like all hotels in 
America, had its large dining-room for the public table. It was 
an odd, shambling, low-roofed outhouse, half cow -shed and half 
kitchen, with a coarse brown canvas table-cloth, and tin sconces 
stuck against the walls, to hold candles at supper-time. The 
horseman had gone forward to have coffee and some eatables 
prepared, and they were by this time nearly ready. He had 
ordered " wheat bread and chicken fixings," in preference to 
" corn bread and common doings." The latter kind of refection 
includes only pork and bacon. The former comprehends broiled 
ham, sausages, veal cutlets, steaks, and such other viands of that 
nature as may be supposed, by a tolerably wide poetical con- 
struction, " to fix " # chicken comfortably in the digestive organs 
of any lady or gentleman. 

On one of the door-posts at this inn was a tin plate, whereon 
was inscribed, in characters of gold, " Doctor Crocus ; " and on 
a sheet of paper, pasted up by the side of this plate, was a 
written announcement that Doctor Crocus would that evening 
deliver a lecture on Phrenology for the benefit of the Belleville 
public ; at a charge for admission of so much a head. 

Straying up-stairs during the preparation of the chicken 
fixings, I happened tP P ass the Doctor's chamber ; and as the 

P 



210 AMERICAN NOTES 

door stood wide open, and the room was empty, I made bold to 
peep in. 

It was a bare, unfurnished, comfortless room, with an unframed 
portrait hanging up at the head of the bed ; a likeness, I take 
it, of the Doctor, for the forehead was fully displayed, and great 
stress was laid by the artist upon its phrenological developments. 
The bed itself was covered with an old patchwork counterpane. 
The room was destitute of carpet or of curtain. There was a 
damp fire-place without any stove, full of wood ashes ; a chair, 
and a very small table ; and on the last-named piece of furni- 
ture was displayed, in grand array, the Doctor's library, con- 
sisting of some half-dozen greasy old books. 

Now, it certainly looked about the last apartment on the 
whole earth out of which any man would be likely to get any- 
thing to do him good. But the door, as I have said, stood 
coaxingly open, and plainly said, in conjunction with the chair, 
the portrait, the table, and the books, " Walk in, gentlemen, 
walk in ! Don't be ill, gentlemen, when you may be well in no 
time. Doctor Crocus is here, gentlemen, the celebrated Doctor 
Crocus ! Doctor Crocus has come all this way to cure you, 
gentlemen. If you haven't heard of Doctor Crocus, it's your 
fault, gentlemen, who live a little way out of the world here : 
not Doctor Crocus's. Walk in, gentlemen, walk in !" 

In the passage below, when I went down- stairs again, was 
Doctor Crocus himself. A crowd had flocked in from the Court 
House, and a voice from among them called out to the landlord, 
" Colonel ! introduce Doctor Crocus." 

" Mr. Dickens," says the colonel, " Doctor Crocus." 

Upon which Doctor Crocus, who is a tall, fine-looking Scotch- 
man, but rather fierce and warlike in appearance for a professor 
of the peaceful art of healing, bursts out of the concourse with 
his right arm extended, and his chest thrown out as far as it 
will possibly come, and says : 

" Your countryman, sir !" 

Whereupon Doctor Crocus and I shake hands ; and Doctor 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 211 

Crocus looks as if I didn't by any means realise his expectations, 
which, in a linen blouse, and a great straw hat with a green 
ribbon, and no gloves, and my face and nose profusely orna- 
mented with the stings of mosquitoes and the bites of bugs, it 
is very likely I did not. 

" Long in these parts, sir ? " says I. 

" Three or four months, sir," says the Doctor. 

"Do you think of soon returning to the old country, sir?'' 
says I. 

Doctor Crocus makes no verbal answer, but gives me an 
imploring look, which says so plainly, " Will you ask me that 
again a little louder, if you please ?" that I repeat the question. 

"Think of soon returning to the old country, sir?" repeats 
the Doctor. 

" To the old country, sir," I rejoin. 

Doctor Crocus looks round upon the crowd to observe the 
effect he produces, rubs his hands, and says, in a very loud voice : 

" Not yet awhile, sir, not yet. You won't catch me at that 
just yet, sir. I am a little too fond of freedom for that, sir. 
Ha, ha ! It's not so easy for a man to tear himself from a free 
country such as this is, sir. Ha, ha ! No, no ! Ha, ha ! None 
of that till one's obliged to do it, sir. No, no !" 

As Doctor Crocus says these latter words, he shakes his head 
knowingly, and laughs again. Many of the bystanders shake 
their heads in concert with the Doctor, and laugh too, and look 
at each other as much as to say, " A pretty bright and first-rate 
sort of chap is Crocus !" and, unless I am very much mistaken, 
a good many people went to the lecture that night who never 
thought about phrenology, or about Doctor Crocus either, in all 
their lives before. 

From Belleville we went on, through the same desolate kind 
of waste, and constantly attended, without the interval of a 
moment, by the same music ; until, at three o'clock in the after- 
noon, we halted once more at a village called Lebanon to innate 
the horses again, and give them some corn besides : of which 

P2 



212 AMERICAN NOTES 

they stood much in need. Pending this ceremony, I walked 
into the village, where I met a full-sized dwelling-house 
coming downhill at a round trot, drawn by a score or more 
of oxen. 

The public-house was so very clean and good a one, that the 
managers of the jaunt resolved to return to it, and put up there 
for the night, if possible. This course decided on, and the 
horses being well refreshed, we again pushed forward, and came 
upon the Prairie at sunset. , 

It would be difficult to say why, or how — though it was 
possibly from having heard and read so much about it — but the 
effect on me was disappointment. Looking towards the setting 
sun, there lay, stretched out before my view, a vast expanse of 
level ground ; unbroken, save by one thin line of trees, which 
scarcely amounted to a scratch upon the great blank ; until it 
met the glowing sky, wherein it seemed to dip : mingling with 
its rich colours, and mellowing in its distant blue. There it 
lay, a tranquil sea or lake without water, if such a simile be 
admissible, with the day going down upon it : a few birds 
wheeling here and there : and solitude and silence reigning 
paramount around. But the grass was not yet high ; there 
were bare black patches on the ground ; and the few wild flowers 
that the eye could see were poor and scanty. Great as the 
picture was, its very flatness and extent, which left nothing to 

the imagination, tamed it down and cramped its interest., I_ 

''relt little of that sense of freedom and ex hilaration which a 
Scottish heath inspires, or even our English downs awaken. 
It was lonely and wild, but oppressive in its barren monotony. 
I felt that, in traversing the Prairies, I could never abandon 
myself to the scene, forgetful of all else ; as I should do 
instinctively, were the heather underneath my feet, or an iron- 
bound coast beyond ; but should often glance towards the 
distant and frequently receding line of the horizon, and wish 
it gained and passed. It is not a scene to be forgotten, but 
it is scarcely one, I think (at all events, as I saw it), to remem- 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 213 

ber with much pleasure, or to covet the looking on again in 
after life. 

We encamped near a solitary log-house, for the sake of its 
water, and dined upon the plain. The baskets contained roast 
fowls, buffalo's tongue (an exquisite dainty, by the way), ham, 
bread, cheese, and butter ; biscuits, champagne, sherry ; lemon 
and sugar for punch ; and abundance of rough ice. The meal 
was delicious, and the entertainers were the soul of kindness 
and good-humour. I have often recalled that cheerful party 
to my pleasant recollection since, and shall not easily forget, 
in junketings nearer home with friends of older date, my boon 
companions on the Prairie. 

Eeturning to Lebanon that night, we lay at the little inn at 
which we had halted in the afternoon. In point of cleanliness 
and comfort it would have suffered by no comparison with any 
village alehouse of a homely kind in England. 

Rising at five o'clock next morning, I took a walk about the 
village : none of the houses were strolling about to-day, but it 
was early for them yet, perhaps : and then amused myself by 
lounging in a kind of farmyard behind the tavern, of which the 
leading features were, a strange jumble of rough sheds for 
stables ; a rude colonnade, built as a cool place of summer resort ; 
a deep well ; a great earthen mound for keeping vegetables 
in, in winter-time ; and a pigeon-house, whose little apertures 
looked, as they do in all pigeon-houses, very much too small for 
the admission of the plump and swelling-breasted birds who 
were strutting about it, though they tried to get in never so 
hard. That interest exhausted, I took a survey of the inn's 
two parlours, which were decorated with coloured prints of Wash- 
ington and President Madison, and of a white-faced young lady 
(much speckled by the flies), who held up her gold neck-chain 
for the admiration of the spectator, and informed all admiring 
comers that she was "Just Seventeen :" although I should have 
thought her older. In the best room were two oil portraits of 
the kit-cat size, representing the landlord and his infant son ; 



214 AMERICAN NOTES 

both looking as bold as lions, and staring out of the canvas with 
an intensity that would have been cheap at any price. They 
were painted, I think, by the artist who had touched up the 
Belleville doors with red and gold; for I seemed to recognise 
his style immediately. 

After breakfast we started to return by a different way from 
that which we had taken yesterday, and coming up at ten o'clock 
with an encampment of German emigrants carrying their goods 
in carts, who had made a rousing fire which they were just 
quitting, stopped there to refresh. And very pleasant the fire 
was ; for, hot though it had been yesterday, it was quite cold 
to-day, and the wind blew keenly. Looming in the distance, as 
we rode along, was another of the ancient Indian burial-places, 
called the Monks' Mound ; in memory of a body of fanatics of 
the order of La Trappe, who founded a desolate convent there 
many years ago, when there were no settlers within a thousand 
miles, and were all swept off by the pernicious climate : in which 
lamentable fatality few rational people will suppose, perhaps, 
that society experienced any very severe deprivation. 

The track of to-day had the same features as the track of 
yesterday. There was the swamp, the bush, the perpetual chorus 
of frogs, the rank unseemly growth, the unwholesome steam- 
ing earth. Here and there, and frequently too, we encountered 
a solitary broken-down waggon, full of some new settler's goods. 
It was a pitiful sight to see one of these vehicles deep in the 
mire ; the axletree broken ; the wheel lying idly by its side ; 
the man gone miles away, to look for assistance ; the woman 
seated among their wandering household gods, with a baby at 
her breast, a picture of forlorn, dejected patience ; the team of 
oxen crouching down mournfully in the mud, and breathing 
forth such clouds of vapour from their mouths and nostrils, that 
all the damp mist and fog around seemed to have come direct 
from them. 

In due time we mustered once again before the merchant 
tailor's, and, having done so, crossed over to the city in the 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 215 

ferry-boat : passing, on the way, a spot called Bloody Island, 
the duelling-ground of St. Louis, and so designated in honour of 
the last fatal combat fought there, which was with pistols, breast 
to breast. Both combatants fell dead upon the ground ; and 
possibly some rational people may think of them, as of the 
gloomy madmen on the Monks' Mound, that they were no great 
loss to the community. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

RETURN TO CINCINNATI. A STAGE-COACH HIDE FROM THAT CITY TO COLUMBUS, ANU 
THENCE TO SANDUSKY. SO, BY LAKE ERIE, TO THE FALLS OF NIAGARA. 

A SI had a desire to travel through the interior of the State 
of Ohio, and to " strike the lakes," as the phrase is, at a 
small town called Sandusky, to which that route would conduct 
us on our way to Niagara, we had to return from St. Louis by 
the way we had come, and to retrace our former track as far as 
Cincinnati. 

The day on which we were to take leave of St. Louis being 
very fine ; and the steamboat, which was to have started I don't 
know how early in the morning, postponing, for the third or 
fourth time, her departure until the afternoon ; we rode forward 
to an old French village on the river, called properly Carondelet, 
and nicknamed Vide Poche, and arranged that the packet should 
call for us there. 

The place consisted of a few poor cottages and two or three 
public-houses ; the state of whose larders certainly seemed to 
justify the second designation of the village, for there was 
nothing to eat in any of them. At length, however, by going 
back some half a mile or so, we found a solitary house where ham 
and coffee were procurable ; and there we tarried to await the 
advent of the boat, which would come in sight from the green 
before the door, a long way off. 

It was a neat, unpretending village tavern, and we took our 
repast in a quaint little room with a bed in it, decorated with 
some old oil-paintings, which in their time had probably done 
duty in a Catholic chapel or monastery. The fare was very 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 2l7 

good, and served with great cleanliness. The house was kept 
by a characteristic old couple, with whom we had a long talk, 
and who were perhaps a very good sample of that kind of people 
in the West. 

The landlord was a dry, tough, hard-faced old fellow (not so 
very old either, for he was but just turned sixty, I should think), 
who had been out with the militia in the last war with England, 
and had seen all lands of service — except a battle ; and he had 
been very near seeing that, he added : very near. He had all 
his life been restless and locomotive, with an irresistible desire 
for change ; and was still the son of his old self : for, if he had 
nothing to keep him at home, he said (slightly jerking his hat 
and his thumb towards the window of the room in which the 
old lady sat, as we stood talking in front of the house) he would 
clean up his musket, and be off to Texas to-morrow morning. 
He was one of the very many descendants of Cain proper to 
this continent, who seem destined from their birth to serve as 
pioneers in the great human army : who gladly go on from year 
to year extending its outposts, and leaving home after home 
behind them ; and die at last, utterly regardless of their graves 
being left thousands of miles behind, by the wandering genera- 
tion who succeed. 

His wife was a domesticated, kind-hearted old soul, who had 
come with him "from the queen city of the world," which, it 
seemed, was Philadelphia ; but had no love for this "Western 
country, and, indeed, had little reason to bear it any ; having 
seen her children, one by one, die here of fever, in the full prime 
and beauty of their youth. Her heart was sore, she said, to 
think of them ; and to talk on this theme, even to strangers, in 
that blighted place, so far from her old home, eased it somewhat, 
and became a melancholy pleasure. 

The boat appearing towards evening, we bade adieu to the 
poor old lady and her vagrant spouse, and making for the nearest 
landing-place, were soon on board the Messenger again, in our 
old cabin, and steaming down the Mississippi. 



2l8 AMERICAN NOTES 

If the coming up this river, slowly making head against the 
stream, be an irksome journey, the shooting down it with the 
turbid current is almost worse ; for then the boat, proceeding 
at the rate of twelve or fifteen miles an hour, has to force its 
passage through a labyrinth of floating logs, which, in the dark, 
it is often impossible to see beforehand or avoid. All that 
night the bell was never silent for five minutes at a time ; and 
after every ring the vessel reeled again, sometimes beneath a 
single blow, sometimes beneath a dozen dealt in quick succes- 
sion, the lightest of which seemed more than enough to beat in 
her frail keel, as though it had been pie-crust. Looking down 
upon the filthy river after dark, it seemed to be alive with 
monsters, as these black masses rolled upon the surface, or came 
starting up again, head first, when the boat, in ploughing her 
way among a shoal of such- obstructions, drove a few among 
them, for the moment, under water. Sometimes the engine 
stopped during a long interval, and then before her and behind, 
and gathering close about her on all sides, were so many of these 
ill-favoured obstacles that she was fairly hemmed in ; the centre 
of a floating island ; and was constrained to pause until they 
parted somewhere, as dark clouds will do before the wind, and 
opened by degrees a channel out. 

In good time next morning, however, we came again in sight 
of the detestable morass called Cairo : and stopping there to 
take in wood, lay alongside a barge, whose starting timbers 
scarcely held together. It was moored to the bank, and on its 
side was painted "Coffee House;" that being, I suppose, the 
floating paradise to which the people fly for shelter when they lose 
their houses for a month or two beneath the hideous waters of 
the Mississippi. But, looking southward from this point, we 
had the satisfaction of seeing that intolerable river dragging its 
slimy length and ugly freight abruptly off towards New Orleans ; 
and, passing a yellow line which stretched across the current, 
were again upon the clear Ohio, never, I trust, to see the 
Mississippi more, saving in troubled dreams and nightmares, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 2 10. 

Leaving it for the company of its sparkling neighbour was like 
the transition from pain to ease, or the awakening from a 
horrible vision to cheerful realities. 

We arrived at Louisville on the fourth night, and gladly 
availed ourselves of its excellent hotel. Next day we went on 
in the Ben Franklin, a beautiful mail steamboat, and reached 
Cincinnati shortly after midnight. Being by this time nearly 
tired of sleeping upon shelves, we had remained awake to go 
ashore straightway; and groping a passage across the dark decks 
of other boats, and among labyrinths of engine machinery and 
leaking casks of molasses, we reached the streets, knocked up 
the porter at the hotel where we had stayed before, and were, to 
our great joy, safely housed soon afterwards. 

We rested but one day at Cincinnati, and then resumed our 
journey to Sandusky. As it comprised two varieties of stage- 
coach travelling, which, with those I have already glanced at, 
comprehend the main characteristics of this mode of transit in 
America, I will take the reader as our fellow-passenger, and 
pledge myself to perform the distance with all possible dispatch. 

Our place of destination, in the first instance, is Columbus. 
It is distant about a hundred and twenty miles from Cincinnati, 
but there is a macadamised road (rare blessing !) the whole way, 
and the rate of travelling upon it is six miles an hour. 

We start at eight o'clock in the morning, in a great mail- 
coach, whose huge cheeks are so very ruddy and plethoric, that 
it appears to be troubled with a tendency of blood to the head. 
Dropsical it certainly is, for it will hold a dozen passengers 
inside. But, wonderful to add, it is very clean and bright, 
being nearly new ; and rattles through the streets of Cincinnati 

gaily 

Our way lies through a beautiful country, richly cultivated, 
and luxuriant in its promise of an abundant harvest. Some- 
times we pass a field where the strong bristling stalks of Indian 
corn look like a crop of walking-sticks, and sometimes an enclo- 
sure where the green wheat is springing up among a labyrinth of 



220 AMERICAN NOTES 

"stumps; the primitive worm-fence is universal, and an ugly 
thing it is ; but the farms are neatly kept, and, save for these 
differences, one might be travelling just now in Kent. 

We often stop to water at a roadside inn, which is always dull 
and silent. The coachman dismounts and fills his bucket, and 
holds it to the horses' heads. There is scarcely ever any one to 
help him ; there are seldom any loungers standing round ; and 
never any stable company with jokes to crack. Sometimes, 
when we have changed our team, there is a difficulty in starting 
again, arising out of the prevalent mode of breaking a young 
horse : which is to catch him, harness him against his will, and 
put him in a stage-coach without further notice : but we get on 
somehow or other, after a great many kicks and a violent 
struggle ; and jog on as before again. 

Occasionally, when we stop to change, some two or three 
half-drunken loafers will come loitering out with their hands in 
their pockets, or will be seen kicking their heels in rocking- 
chairs, or lounging on the window-sill, or sitting on a rail within 
the colonnade ; they have not often anything to say, though, 
either to us or to each other, but sit there idly staring at the 
coach and horses. The landlord of the inn is usually among 
them, and seems, of all the party, to be the least connected with 
the business of the house. Indeed, he is, with reference to the 
tavern, what the driver is in relation to the coach and passen- 
gers : whatever happens in his sphere of action, he is quite 
indifferent, and perfectly easy in his mind. 

The frequent change of coachmen works no change or variety 
in the coachman's character. He is always dirt}', sullen, and 
taciturn. If he be capable of smartness of any kind, moral or 
physical, he has a faculty of concealing it which is truly mar- 
vellous. He never speaks to you as you sit beside him on the 
box, and if you speak to him, he answers (if at all) in mono- 
syllables. He points out nothing on the road, and seldom looks 
at anything : being, to all appearance, thoroughly weary of it, 
and of existence generally. As to doing the honours of his 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 221 

coach, his business, as I have said, is with the horses. The 
coach follows because it is attached to them and goes on wheels : 
not because you are in it. Sometimes, towards the end of a 
long stage, he suddenly breaks out into a discordant fragment 
of an election song, but his face never sings along with him : it 
is only his voice, and not often that. 

He always chews and always spits, and never encumbers 
himself with a pocket-handkerchief. The consequences to the 
box passenger, especially when the wind blows towards him, are 
not agreeable. 

Whenever the coach stops, and you can hear the voices of the 
inside passengers ; or whenever any bystander addresses them, 
or any one among them ; or they address each other ; you will 
hear one phrase repeated over and over and over again to the 
most extraordinary extent. It is an ordinary and unpromising 
phrase enough, being neither more nor less than " Yes, sir ;" 
but it is adapted to every variety of circumstance, and fills up 
every pause in the conversation. Thus : 

The time is one o'clock at noon. The scene, a place where 
we are to stay to dine on this journey. The coach drives up to 
the door of an inn. The day is warm, and there are several 
idlers lingering about the tavern, and waiting for the public 
dinner. Among them is a stout gentleman in a brown hat, 
swinging himself to and fro in a rocking-chair on the pavement. 

As the coach stops, a gentleman in a straw hat looks out of 
the window. 

Straw Hat (to the stout gentleman in the rocking-chair). I 
reckon that's Judge Jefferson, ain't it ? 

Brown Hat (still swinging ; speaking very slowly ; and with- 
out any emotion whatever). Yes, sir. 

Straw Hat. Warm weather, Judge. 

Brown Hat. Yes, sir. 

Straw Hat. There was a snap of cold last week. 

Brown Hat. Yes, sir. 

Straw Hat. Yes, sir. 



222 AMERICAN NOTES 

A pause, they look at each other very seriously. 

Straw Hat. I calculate you'll have got through that case of 
the corporation, Judge, by this time, now ? 

Brown Hat. Yes, sir. 

Straw Hat. How did the verdict go, sir ? 

Brown Hat. For the defendant, sir. 

Straw Hat (interrogatively). Yes, sir ? 

Brown Hat (affirmatively). Yes, sir. 

Both (musingly, as each gazes down the street). Yes, sir. 

Another pause. They look at each other again, still more 
seriously than before. 

Brown Hat. This coach is rather behind its time to-day, 
I guess. 

Straw Hat (doubtingly). Yes, sir. 

Brown Hat (looking at his watch). Yes, sir ; nigh upon 
two hours. 

Straw Hat (raising his eyebrows in very great surprise). 
Yes, sir ! 

Brown Hat (decisively, as he puts up his watch). Yes, sir. 

All the other inside Passengers (among themselves). 
Yes, sir. 

Coachman (in a very surly tone). No, it an't. 

Straw Hat (to the coachman). Well, I don't know, sir. 
We were a pretty tall time coming that last fifteen mile. That's 
a fact. 

The coachman making no reply, and plainly declining to enter 
into any controversy on a subject so far removed from his sym- 
pathies and feelings, another passenger says, " Yes, sir ;" and the 
gentleman in the straw hat, in acknowledgment of his courtesy, 
says, " Yes, sir," to him in return. The straw hat then inquires 
of the brown hat whether that coach in which he (the straw hat) 
then sits is not a new one ? To which the brown hat again 
makes answer, " Yes, sir." 

Straw Hat. I thought so. Pretty loud smell of varnish, 
sir? 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 223 

Brown Hat. Yes, sir. 

All the other inside Passengers. Yes, sir. 

Brown Hat (to the company in general). Yes, sir. 

The conversational powers of the company having been by 
this time pretty heavily taxed, the straw hat opens the door and 
gets out ; and all the rest alight also. We dine soon afterwards 
with the boarders in the house, and have nothing to drink but 
tea and coffee. As they are both very bad, and the water is 
worse, I ask for brandy ; but it is a Temperance Hotel, and 
spirits are not to be had for love or money. This preposterous 
forcing of unpleasant drinks down the reluctant throats of 
travellers is not at all uncommon in America, but I never dis- 
covered that the scruples of such wincing landlords induced 
them to preserve any unusually nice balance between the quality 
of their fare and their scale of charges : on the contrary, I rather 
suspected them of diminishing the one and exalting the other, 
by way of recompense for the loss of their profit on the sale of 
spirituous liquors. After all, perhaps, the plainest course for 
persons of such tender consciences would be, a total abstinence 
from tavern-keeping. 

Dinner over, we get into another vehicle which is ready at 
the door (for the coach has been changed in the interval), and 
resume our journey ; which continues through the same kind of 
country until evening, when we come to the town where we are 
to stop for tea and supper ; and having delivered the mail-bags 
at the Post Office, ride through the usual wide street, lined with 
the usual stores and houses (the drapers always having hung up 
at their door, by way of sign, a piece of bright red cloth), to the 
hotel where this meal is prepared. There being many boarders 
here, we sit down a large party, and a very melancholy one as 
usual. But there is a buxom hostess at the head of the table, 
and opposite, a simple Welsh schoolmaster with his wife and 
child ; who came here, on a speculation of greater promise than 
performance, to teach the classics : and they are sufficient sub- 
jects of interest until the meal is over, and another coach is 



224 AMERICAN NOTES 

ready. In it we go on once more, lighted by a bright moon, 
until midnight ; when we stop to change the coach again, and 
remain for half an hour or so in a miserable room, with a 
blurred lithograph of Washington over the smoky fire-place, and 
a mighty jug of cold water on the table : to "which refreshment 
the moody passengers do so apply themselves that they would 
seem to be, one and all, keen patients of Doctor Sangrado. 
Among them is a very little boy, who chews tobacco like a very 
big one ; and a droning gentleman, who talks arithmetically and 
statistically on all subjects, from poetry downwards ; and who 
always speaks in the same key, with exactly the same emphasis, 
and with very grave deliberation. -He came outside just now, 
and told me how that the uncle of a certain young lady who had 
been spirited away and married by a certain captain lived in 
these parts ; and how this uncle was so valiant and ferocious 
that he shouldn't wonder if he were to follow the said captain to 
England, " and shoot him down in the street, wherever he found 
him ;" in the feasibility of which strong measure I, being for the 
moment rather prone to contradiction, from feeling half asleep 
and very tired, declined to acquiesce : assuring him that if the 
uncle did resort to it, or gratified any other little whim of the 
like nature, he would find himself one morning prematurely 
throttled at the Old Bailey ; and that he would do well to make 
his will before he went, as he would certainly want it before he 
had been in Britain very long. 

On we go all night, and by-and-by the day begins to break, 
and presently the first cheerful rays of the warm sun come 
slanting on us brightly. It sheds its light upon a miserable 
waste of sodden grass, and dull trees, and squalid huts, whose 
aspect is forlorn and grievous in the last degree. A very desert 
in the wood, whose growth of green is dank and noxious like 
that upon the top of standing water : where poisonous fungus 
grows in the rare footprint on the oozy ground, and sprouts like 
witches' coral from the crevices in the cabin wall and floor ; it 
is a hideous thing to he upon the very threshold of a city. But 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION, 225 

it was purchased years ago, and as the owner cannot be dis- 
covered, the State has been unable to reclaim it. So there it 
remains, in the midst of cultivation and improvement, like 
ground accursed, and made obscene and rank by some great 
crime. 

We reached Columbus shortly before seven o'clock, and stayed 
there, to refresh, that day and night : having excellent apart- 
ments in a very large unfinished hotel called the Neill House, 
which were richly fitted with the polished wood of the black 
walnut, and opened on a handsome portico and stone verandah, 
like rooms in some Italian mansion. The town is clean and 
pretty, and of course is " going to be " much larger. It is the 
seat of the State legislature of Ohio, and lays claim, in conse- 
quence, to some consideration and importance. 

There being no stage-coach next day upon the road we wished 
to take, I hired " an extra," at a reasonable charge, to carry us 
1:0 Tiffin ; a small town from whence there is a railroad to San- 
dusky. This extra was an ordinary four-horse stage-coach, such 
as I have described, changing horses and drivers, as the stage- 
coach would, but was exclusively our own for the journey. To 
insure our having horses at the proper stations, and being incom- 
moded by no strangers, the proprietors sent an agent on the 
box, who was to accompany us the whole way through ; and 
thus attended, and bearing with us, besides, a hamper full of 
savoury cold meats, and fruit, and wine ; we started off again, in 
high spirits, at half-past six o'clock next morning, very much 
delighted to be by ourselves, and disposed to enjoy even the 
roughest journey. 

It was well for us that we were in this humour, for the road 
we went over that day was certainly enough to have shaken 
tempers that were not resolutely at Set Fair down to some inches 
below Stormy. At one time we were all flung together in a 
heap at the bottom of the coach, and at another we were 
crushing our heads against the roof. Now one side was down 
deep in the mire, and we were holding on to the other. Now 



226 AMERICAN NOTES 

the coach was lying on the tails of the two wheelers ; and now 
it was rearing up in the air, in a frantic state, with all four 
horses standing on the top of an insurmountable eminence, 
looking coolly back at it, as though they would say, " Unharness 
us. It can't be done." The drivers on these roads, who cer- 
tainly get over the road in a manner which is quite miraculous, 
so twist and turn the team about in forcing a passage, corkscrew 
fashion, through the bogs and swamps, that it was quite a common 
circumstance, on looking out of the window, to see the coach- 
man, with the ends of a pair of reins in his hands, apparently 
driving nothing, or playing at horses, and the leaders staring at 
one unexpectedly from the back of the coach, as if they had some 
idea of getting up behind. A great portion of the way was over 
what is called a corduroy road, which is made by throwing 
trunks of trees into a marsh, and leaving them to settle there. 
The very slightest of the jolts with which the ponderous carriage 
fell from log to log was enough, it seemed, to have dislocated 
all the bones in the human body. It would be impossible to 
experience a similar set of sensations in any other circumstances, 
unless, perhaps, in attempting to.go up to the top of St. Paul's 
in an omnibus. Never, never once., that day, was the coach in 
any position, attitude, or kind of motion to which we are accus- 
tomed in coaches. Never did it make the smallest approach to 
one's experience of the proceedings of any sort of vehicle that 
goes on wheels. 

Still, it was a fine day, and the temperature was delicious, 
and though we had left Summer behind us in the west, and 
were fast leaving Spring, we were moving towards Niagara and 
home. We alighted in a pleasant wood towards the middle of 
the day, dined on a fallen tree, and leaving our best fragments 
with a cottager, and our worst with the pigs (who swarm in 
this part of the country like grains of sand on the seashore, to 
the great comfort of our commissariat in Canada), we went for- 
ward again gaily. 

As night came on, the track grew narrower and narrower, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 227 

until at last it so lost itself among the trees, that the driver 
seemed to find his way by instinct. We had the comfort of 
knowing, at least, that there was no danger of his falling asleep, 
for every now and then a wheel would strike against an unseen 
stump with such a jerk, that he was fain to hold on pretty tight 
and pretty quick, to keep himself upon the box. Nor was there 
any reason to dread the least danger from furious driving, inas- 
much as over that broken ground the horses had enough to do 
to walk ; as to shying, there was no room for that ; and a herd 
of wild elephants could not have run away in such a wood, 
with such a coach at their heels. So we stumbled along, quite 
satisfied. 

These stumps of trees are a curious feature in American 
travelling. The varying illusions they present to the unac- 
customed eye, as it grows dark, are quite astonishing in their 
number and reality. Now there is a Grecian urn erected in the 
centre of a lonely field ; now there is a woman weeping at a 
tomb ; now a very commonplace old gentleman in a white waist- 
coat, with a thumb thrust into each armhole of his coat ; now a 
student poring on a book ; now a crouching negro ; now a horse, 
a dog, a cannon, an armed man ; a hunchback throwing off his 
cloak and stepping forth into the light. They were often as 
entertaining to me as so many glasses in a magic lantern, and 
never took their shapes at my bidding, but seemed to force 
themselves upon me, whether I would or no ; and, strange to 
say, I sometimes recognised in them counterparts of figures 
once familiar to me in pictures attached to childish books, for- 
gotten long ago. 

It soon became too dark, however, even for this amusement, 
and the trees were so close together that their dry branches 
rattled against the coach on either side, and obliged us all to 
keep our heads within. It lightened, too, for three whole hours; 
each flash being very bright, and blue, and long ; and as the 
vivid streaks came darting in among the crowded branches, and 
the thunder rolled gloomily above the tree-tops, one could 

Q2 



228 AMERICAN NOTES 

scarcely help thinking that there were better neighbourhoods at 
such a time than thick woods afforded. 

At length, between ten and eleven o'clock at night, a few 
feeble lights appeared in the distance, and Upper Sandusky, 
an Indian village, where we were to stay till morning, lay 
before us. 

They were gone to bed at the log-inn, which was the only 
house of entertainment in the place, but soon answered to our 
knocking, and got some tea for us in a sort of kitchen or com- 
mon room, tapestried with old newspapers, pasted against the 
wall. The bedchamber to which my wife and I were shown 
was a large, low, ghostly room ; with a quantity of withered 
branches on the hearth, and two doors without any fastening, 
opposite to each other, both opening on the black night and 
wild country, and so contrived that one of them always blew 
the other open : a novelty in domestic architecture which I do 
not remember to have seen before, and which I was somewhat 
disconcerted to have forced on my attention after getting into 
bed, as I had a considerable sum in gold, for our travelling 
expenses, in my dressing-case. Some of the luggage, however, 
piled against the panels, soon settled this difficulty, and my 
sleep would not have been very much affected that night, I 
believe, though it had failed to do so. 

My Boston friend climbed up to bed somewhere in the roof, 
where another guest was already snoring hugely. But, being 
bitten beyond his power of endurance, he turned out again, and 
fled for shelter to the coach, which was airing itself in front of 
the house. This was not a very politic step as it turned out, 
for the pigs scenting him, and looking upon the coach as a kind 
of pie with some manner of meat inside, grunted round it so 
hideously, that he was afraid to come out again, and lay there 
shivering till morning. Nor was it possible • to warm him, 
when he did come out, by means of a glass of brandy ; for in 
Indian villages, the legislature, with a very good and wise inten- 
tion, forbids the sale of spirits by tavern-keepers. The pre- 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 22g 

caution, however, is quite inefficacious, for the Indians never 
fail to procure liquor of a worse kind, at a dearer price, from 
travelling pedlers. 

It is a settlement of the Wyandot Indians who inhabit this 
place. Among the company at breakfast was a mild old gentle- 
man, who had been for many years employed by the United 
States Government in conducting negotiations with the Indians, 
and who had just concluded a treaty with these people by which 
they bound themselves, in consideration of a certain annual 
sum, to remove next year to some land provided for them west 
of the Mississippi, and a little way beyond St. Louis. He gave 
me a moving account of their strong attachment to the familiar 
scenes of their infancy, and in particular to the burial-places of 
their kindred ; and of their great reluctance to leave them. He 
had witnessed many such removals, and always with pain, though 
he knew that they departed for their own good. The question 
whether this tribe should go or stay had been discussed among 
them a day or two before, in a hut erected for the purpose, the 
logs of which still lay upon the ground before the inn. When 
the speaking was done, the ayes and noes were ranged on 
opposite sides, and every male adult voted in his turn. The 
moment the result was known, the minority (a large one) cheer- 
fully yielded to the rest, and withdrew all kind of opposition. 

We met some of these poor Indians afterwards, riding on 
shaggy ponies. They were so like the meaner sort of gipsies, 
that if I could have seen any of them in England, I should have 
concluded, as a matter of course, that they belonged to that 
wandering and restless people. 

Leaving this town directly after breakfast, we pushed forward 
again, over a rather worse road than yesterday, if possible, and 
arrived about noon at Tiffin, where Ave parted with the extra. 
At two o'clock we took the railroad ; the travelling on which was 
very slow, its construction being indifferent, and the ground wet 
and marshy ; and arrived at Sandusky in time to dine that 
evening. We put up at a comfortable little hotel on the brink 



230 AMERICAN NOTES 

of Lake Erie, lay there that night, and had no choice but to 
wait there next day, until a steamboat bound for Buffalo appeared. 
The town, which was sluggish and uninteresting enough, was 
something like the back of an English watering-place out of the 
season. 

Our host, who was very attentive and anxious to make us 
comfortable, was a handsome middle-aged man, who had come to 
this town from New England, in which part of the country he 
was " raised." When I say that he constantly walked in and 
out of the room with his hat on ; and stopped to converse in 
the same free-and-easy state : and lay down on our sofa, and 
pulled his newspaper out of his pocket, and read it at his ease ; 
I merely mention these traits as characteristic of the country : 
not at all as being matter of complaint, or as having been dis- 
agreeable to me. I should undoubtedly be offended by such 
proceedings at home, because there they are not the custom, 
and where they are not, they would be impertinences ; but, in 
America, the only desire of a good-natured fellow of this kind 
is to treat his guests hospitably and well ; and I had no more 
right, and I can truly say no more disposition, to measure his 
conduct by our English rule and standard, than I had to quarrel 
with him for, not being of the exact stature which would qualify 
him for admission into the Queen's Grenadier Guards. As little 
inclination had I to find fault with a funny old lady who was an 
upper domestic in this establishment, and who, when she came 
to wait upon us at any meal, sat herself down comfortably in 
the most convenient chair, and, producing a large pin to pick 
her teeth with, remained performing that ceremony, and stead- 
fastly regarding us meanwhile with much gravity and composure 
(now and then pressing us to eat a little more), until it was time 
to clear away. It was enough for us that whatever we wished 
done was done with great civility and readiness, and a desire to 
oblige, not only here, but everywhere else ; and that all our 
wants were, in general, zealously anticipated. 

We were taking an early dinner at this house, on the day 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 2^J 

after our arrival, which was Sunday, when a steamboat came in 
sight, and presently touched at the wharf. As she proved to be 
on her way to Buffalo, we hurried on board with all speed, and 
soon left Sandusky far behind us. 

She was a large vessel of five hundred tons, and handsomely 
fitted up, though with high-pressure engines ; which always 
conveyed that kind of feeling to me which I should be likely to 
experience, I think, if I had lodgings on the first floor of a 
powder-mill. She was laden with flour, some casks of which 
commodity were stored upon the deck, The captain coming up 
to have a little conversation, and to introduce a friend, seated 
himself astride of one of these barrels, like a Bacchus of private 
life ; and pulling a great clasp-knife out of his pocket, began to 
" whittle " it as he talked, by paring thin slices off the edges. 
And he whittled with such industry and hearty good-will, that 
but for his being called away very soon, it must have disap- 
peared bodily, and left nothing in its place but grist and shavings. 

After calling at one or two flat places, with low dams stretch- 
ing out ' into the lake, whereon were stumpy lighthouses, like 
windmills without sails, the whole looking like a Dutch vignette, 
we came at midnight to. Cleveland, where we lay all night, and 
until nine o'clock next morning. 

I entertained quite a curiosity in reference to this place, from 
having seen at Sandusky a specimen of its literature in the 
shape of a newspaper, which was very strong indeed upon the 
subject of LoTd Ashburton's recent arrival at Washington, to 
adjust the points in dispute between the United States Govern- 
ment and Great Britain : informing its readers that as America 
had " whipped " England in her infancy, and whipped her again 
in her youth, so it was clearly necessary that she must whip her 
once "again in her maturity : and pledging its credit to all True 
Americans, that if Mr. Webster did his duty in the approaching 
negotiations, and sent the English Lord home again in double- 
quick time, they should, within two years, sing "Yankee Doodle 
in Hyde Park, and Hail Columbia in the scarlet courts of West- 



232 AMERICAN NOTES 

minster ! " I found it a pretty town, and had the satisfaction 
of beholding the outside of the office of the journal from which I 
have just quoted. I did not enjoy the delight of seeing the wit 
who indited the paragraphs in question, but I have no doubt he 
is a prodigious man in his way, and held in high repute by a 
select circle. 

There was a gentleman on board, to whom, as I unintentionally 
learned through the thin partition which divided our state-room 
from the cabin in which he and his wife conversed together, I 
was unwittingly the occasion of very great uneasiness. I don't 
know why or wherefore, but I appeared to run in his mind per- 
petually, and to dissatisfy him very much. First of all I heard 
him say : and the most ludicrous part of the business was, that 
he said it in my very ear, and could not have communicated 
more directly with me, if he had leaned upon my shoulder, and 
whispered me: " Boz is on board still, my dear." After a con- 
siderable pause he added, complainingly, " Boz keeps himself 
very close : " which was true enough, for I was not very well, 
and was lying down, with a book. I thought he had done with 
me after this, but I was deceived ; for a long interval having 
elapsed, during which I imagine him to have been turning rest- 
lessly from side to side, and trying to go to sleep, he broke out 
again with, " I suppose that Boz will be writing a book by-and- 
by, and putting all our names in it ! " at which imaginary con- 
sequence of being on board a boat with Boz, he groaned, and 
became silent. 

We called at the town of Erie at eight o'clock that night, 
and lay there an hour. Between five and six next morning we 
arrived at Buffalo, where we breakfasted ; and, being too near 
the Great Falls to wait patiently anywhere else, we set off by the 
train, the same morning at nine o'clock, to Niagara. 

It was a miserable day ; chilly and raw ; a damp mist 
falling ; and the trees in that northern region quite bare and 
wintry. Whenever the train halted, I listened for the roar ; 
and was constantly straining my eyes in the direction where I 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 233 

knew the Falls must be, from seeing the river rolling on towards 
them ; every moment expecting to behold the spray. Within 
a few minutes of our stopping, not before, I saw two great white 
clouds rising up slowly and majestically from the depths of the 
earth. That was all. At length we alighted : and then, for 
the first time, I heard the mighty rush of water, and felt the 
ground tremble underneath my feet. 

The bank is very steep, and was slippery with rain and half- 
melted ice. I hardly know how I got down, but I was soon at 
the bottom, and climbing, with two English officers who were 
crossing and had joined me, over some broken rocks, deafened 
by the noise, half blinded by the spray, and wet to the skin. We 
were at the foot of the American Fall. I could see an immense 
torrent of water tearing headlong down from some great height, 
but had no idea of shape, or situation, or anything but vague 
immensity. 

When we were seated in the little ferry-boat, and were crossing 
the swollen river immediately before both cataracts, I began to 
feel what it was : but I was in a manner stunned, and unable to 
comprehend the vastness of the scene. It was not until I came 
on Table Rock, and looked — Great Heaven, on what a fall of bright 
green water ! — that it came upon me in its full might and majesty. 

Then, when I felt how near to my Creator I was standing, 
the first effect, and the enduring one — instant and lasting — of 
the tremendous spectacle, was Peace. Peace of Mind, tran- 
quillity, calm recollections of the Dead, great thoughts of 
Eternal Rest and Happiness : nothing of gloom or terror. 
Niagara was at once stamped upon my heart, an Image of 
Beauty ; to remain there, changeless and indelible, until its 
pulses cease to beat, for ever. 

Oh, how the strife and trouble of daily life receded from my 
view, and lessened in the distance, during the ten memorable 
days we passed on that Enchanted Ground ! What voices spoke 
from out the thundering water ; what faces, faded from the earth, 
looked out upon me from its gleaming depths ; what Heavenly 



234 AMERICAN NOTES 

promise glistened in those angels' tears, the drops of many hues, 
that showered around, and twined themselves about the gorgeous 
arches which the changing rainbows made ! 

I never stirred in all that time from the Canadian . side, 
whither I had gone at first. I never crossed the river again ; 
for I knew there were people on the other shore, and in such 
a place it is natural to shun strange company. To wander to 
and fro all day, and see the cataracts from all points of view ; 
to stand upon the edge of the Great Horse-shoe Fall, marking 
the hurried water gathering strength as it approached the verge, 
yet seeming, too, to pause before it shot into the gulf below ; 
to gaze from the river's level up at the torrent as it came 
streaming down ; to climb the neighbouring heights and watch 
it through the trees, and see the wreathing water in the rapids 
hurrying on to take its fearful plunge ; to linger in the shadow 
of the solemn rocks three miles below ; watching the river as, 
stirred by no visible cause, it heaved and eddied and awoke the 
echoes, being troubled yet, far down beneath the surface, by its 
giant leap ; to have Niagara before me, lighted by the sun and 
by the moon, red in the day's decline, and grey as evening slowly 
fell upon it ; to look upon it every day, and wake up in the 
night and hear its ceaseless voice : this was enough. 

I think in every quiet season now, still do those waters roll 
and leap, and roar and tumble, all day long ; still are the rain- 
bows spanning them, a hundred feet below. Still, when the sun 
is on them, do they shine and glow like molten gold. Still, 
when the day is gloomy, do they fall like snow, or seem to 
crumble away like the front of a great chalk cliff, or roll down 
the rock like dense white smoke. But always does the mighty 
stream appear to die as it comes down, and always from its 
unfathomable grave arises that tremendous ghost of spray and 
mist, which is never laid : which has haunted this place with 
the same dread solemnity since Darkness brooded on the deep, 
and that first flood before the Deluge — Light — came rushing on 
Creation at the word of God. 



CHAPTER XV. 

IN CANADA : TORONTO ; KINGSTON J MONTREAL ; QUEREC ; ST. JOHN'S. IN THE TJNITEB 
STATES AGAIN : LEBANON ; THE SHAKER VILLAGE ; AND WEST POINT. 

|~ WISH to abstain from instituting any comparison, or draw- 
ing any parallel whatever, between the social features of the 
United States and those of the British possessions in Canada. 
For this reason, I shall confine myself to a very brief account of 
our journeyings in the latter territory. 

But, before I leave Niagara, I must advert to one disgusting 
circumstance, which can hardly have escaped the observation of 
any decent traveller who has visited the Falls. 

On Table Rock there is a cottage belonging to a Guide, where 
little relics of the place are sold, and where visitors register 
their names in a book kept for the purpose. On the wall of the 
room in which a great many of these volumes are preserved, the 
following request is posted : " Visitors will please not copy nor 
extract the remarks and poetical effusions from the registers and 
albums kept. here." 

But for this intimation, I should have let them lie upon the 
tables on which they were strewn with careful negligence, like 
books in a drawing-room : being quite satisfied with the stu- 
pendous silliness of certain stanzas with an anti-climax at the end 
of each, which were framed and hung up on the wall. Curious, 
however, after reading this announcement, to see what kind of 
morsels were so carefully preserved, I turned a few leaves, and 
found them scrawled all over with the vilest and the filthiest 
ribaldry that ever human hogs delighted in. 

It is humiliating enough to know that there are among men 



236 American notes 

brutes so obscene and worthless, that they can delight in 
laying their miserable profanations upon the very steps of 
Nature's greatest altar. But that these should be hoarded up 
for the delight of their fellow-swine, and kept in a public place 
where any eyes may see them, is a disgrace to the English 
language in which they are written (though I hope few of these 
entries have been made by Englishmen), and a reproach to the 
English side, on which they are preserved. 

The quarters of our soldiers at Niagara are finely and airily 
situated. Some of them are large detached houses on the plain 
above the Falls, which were originally designed for hotels ; and 
in the evening-time,, when the women and children were lean- 
ing over the balconies watching the men as they played at ball 
and other games upon the grass before the door, they often pre- 
sented a little picture of cheerfulness and animation which made 
it quite a pleasure to pass that way. 

At any garrisoned point where the line of demarcation between 
one country and another is so very narrow as at Niagara, deser- 
tion from the ranks can scarcely fail to be of frequent occurrence : 
and it may be reasonably supposed that when the soldiers enter- 
tain the wildest and maddest hopes of the fortune and inde- 
pendence that await them on the other side, the impulse to 
play traitor, which such a place suggests to dishonest minds, is 
not weakened. But it very rarely happens that the men who 
do desert are happy or contented afterwards ; and many instances 
have been known in which they have confessed their grievous 
disappointment, and their earnest desire to return to their old 
service, if they could but be assured of pardon, or of lenient 
treatment. Many of their comrades, notwithstanding, do the 
like from time to time ; and instances of loss of life in the effort 
to cross the river with this object are far from being uncommon. 
Several men were drowned in the attempt to swim across, not 
long ago ; and one, who had the madness to trust himself upon 
a table as a raft, was swept down to the whirlpool, where his 
mangled body eddied round and round some days. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 237 

I am inclined to think that the noise of the Falls is very 
much exaggerated ; and this will appear the more probable 
when the depth of the great basin in which the water is received 
is taken into account. At no time during our stay there was 
the wind at all high or boisterous, but we never heard them 
three miles off, even at the very quiet time of sunset, though 
Ave often tried. 

Queenston, at which place the steamboats start for Toronto 
(or I should rather say at which place they call, for their wharf 
is at Lewiston, on the opposite shore), is situated in a delicious 
valley, through which the Niagara River, in colour a very deep 
green, pursues its course. It is approached by a road that takes 
its winding way among the heights by which the town is 
sheltered ; and, seen from this point, is extremely beautiful and 
picturesque. On the most conspicuous of these heights stood 
a monument erected by the Provincial Legislature in memory of 
General Brock, who was slain in a battle with the American 
Forces, after having won the victory. Some vagabond, supposed 
to be a fellow of the name of Lett, who is now, or who lately 
was, in prison as a felon, blew up this monument two years ago, 
and it is now a melancholy ruin, with a long fragment of iron 
railing hanging dejectedly from its top, and waving to and fro 
like a wild ivy branch or broken vine stem. It is of much 
higher importance than it may seem, that this statue should be 
repaired at the public cost, as it ought to have been long ago. 
Firstly, because it is beneath the dignity of England to allow a 
memorial raised in honour of one of her defenders to remain in 
this condition, on the very spot where he died. Secondly, 
because the sight of it in its present state, and the recollection 
of the unpunished outrage which brought it to this pass, is not 
very likely to soothe down border feelings among English sub- 
jects here, or compose their border quarrels and dislikes. 

I was standing on the wharf at this place, watching the 
passengers embarking in a steamboat which preceded that whose 
coming we awaited, and participating in the anxiety with which 



238 AMERICAN NOTES 

a sergeant's wife was collecting her few goods together — keep- 
ing one distracted eye hard upon the porters, who were hurry- 
ing them on board, and the other on a hoopless washing-tub 
for which, as being the most utterly worthless of all her 
movables, she seemed to entertain particular affection — when 
three or four soldiers with a recruit came up, and went on board. 

The recruit was a likely young fellow enough, strongly built 
and well made, but by no means sober : indeed, he had all the 
air of a man who had been more or less drunk for some days. 
He carried a small bundle over his shoulder, slung at the end 
of a walking-stick, and had a short pipe in his mouth. He was 
as dusty and dirty as recruits usually are, and his shoes betokened 
that he had travelled on foot some distance, but he was in a 
very jocose state, and shook hands with this soldier, and clapped 
that one on the back, and talked and laughed continually, like 
a roaring idle dog as he was. 

The soldiers rather laughed at this blade than with him : 
seeming to say, as they stood straightening their canes in their 
hands, and looking coolly at him over their glazed stocks, " Go 
on, my boy, while you may ! you'll know better by-and-by :" 
when suddenly the novice, who had been backing towards the 
gangway in his noisy merriment, fell overboard before their eyes, 
and splashed heavily down into the river between the vessel and 
the dock. 

I never saw such a good thing as the change that came over 
these soldiers in an instant. Almost before the man was down, 
their professional manner, their stiffness and constraint, Avere 
gone, and they were filled with the most violent energy. In 
less time than is required to tell it, they had him out again, 
feet first, with the tails of his coat flapping over his eyes, every- 
thing about him hanging the wrong way, and the water stream- 
ing off at every thread in his threadbare dress. But the moment 
they set him upright, and found that he was none the worse, 
they were soldiers again, looking over their glazed stocks more 
composedly than ever. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 239 

The half-sobered recruit glanced round for a moment, as if 
his first impulse were to express some gratitude for his preser- 
vation, but seeing them with this air of total unconcern, and 
having his wet pipe presented to him with an oath by the soldier 
who had been by far the most anxious of the party, he stuck it 
in his mouth, thrust his hands into his moist pockets, and, 
without even shaking the water off his clothes, walked on board 
whistling ; not to say as if nothing had happened, but as if he 
had meant to do it, and it had been a perfect success. 

Our steamboat came up directly this had left the wharf, and 
soon bore us to the mouth of the Niagara ; where the stars and 
stripes of America flutter on one side, and the Union Jack of 
England on the other : and so narrow is the space between 
them that the sentinels in either fort can often hear the watch- 
word of the other country given. Thence we emerged on Lake 
Ontario, an inland sea ; and by half-past six o'clock were at 
Toronto. 

The country round this town, being very flat, is bare of scenic 
interest ; but the town itself is full of life and motion, bustle, 
business, and improvement. The streets are well paved, and 
lighted with gas ; the houses are large and good ; the shops 
excellent. Many of them have a display of goods in their 
windows, such as may be seen in thriving county towns in 
England ; and there are some which would do no discredit to 
the metropolis itself. There is a good stone prison here ; and 
there are, besides, a handsome church, a Court-house, public 
offices, many commodious private residences, and a Government 
Observatory for noting and recording the magnetic variations. 
In the College of Upper Canada, which is one of the public 
establishments of the city, a sound education in every depart- 
ment of polite learning can be had at a very moderate expense : 
the annual charge for the instruction of each pupil not exceed- 
ing nine pounds sterling. It has pretty good endowments in 
the way of land, and is a valuable and useful institution. 

The first stone of a new college had been laid but a few days 



240 AMERICAN NOTES 

before by the Governor General. It will be a handsome, spacious 
edifice, approached by a long avenue, which is already planted 
and made available as a public walk. The town is well adapted 
for wholesome exercise at all seasons, for the footways in the 
thoroughfares which lie beyond the principal street are planked 
like floors, and kept in very good and clean repair. 

It is a matter of deep regret that political differences should 
have run high in this place, and led to most discreditable and 
disgraceful results. It is not long since guns were discharged 
from a window in this town at the successful candidates in an 
election, and the coachman of one of them was actually shot in 
the body, though not dangerously wounded. But one man was 
killed on the same occasion ; and from the very window whence 
he received his death, the very flag which shielded his murderer 
(not only in the commission of his crime, but from its conse- 
quences), was displayed again on the occasion of the public 
ceremony performed by the Governor General to which I have 
just adverted. Of all the colours in the rainbow, there is but 
one which could be so employed : I need not say that flag was 
orange. 

The time of leaving Toronto for Kingston is noon. By eight 
o'clock next morning the traveller is at the end of his journey, 
which is performed by steamboat upon Lake Ontario, calling at 
Port Hope and Coburg, the latter a cheerful, thriving little town. 
Vast quantities of flour form the chief item in the freight of 
these vessels. We had no fewer than one thousand and eighty 
barrels on board between Coburg and Kingston. 

The latter place, which is now the seat of government in 
Canada, is a very poor town, rendered still poorer in the appear- 
ance of its market-place by the ravages of a recent fire. Indeed, 
it may be said of Kingston, that one half of it appears to be 
burnt down, and the other half not to be built up. The Govern- 
ment House is neither elegant nor commodious, yet it is almost 
the only house of any importance in the neighbourhood. 

There is an admirable gaol here, well and wisely governed, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. i\t 

and excellently regulated in every respect. The men Avere 
employed as shoemakers, ropemakers, blacksmiths, tailors, car- 
penters, and stone-cutters ; and in building a new prison, which 
was pretty far advanced towards completion. The female 
prisoners were occupied in needlework. Among them was a 
beautiful girl of twenty, who had been there nearly three years. 
She acted as bearer of secret dispatches for the self-styled Patriots 
on Navy Island during the Canadian Insurrection: sometimes 
dressing as a girl, and carrying them in her stays ; sometimes 
attiring herself as a boy, and secreting them in the lining of her 
hat. In the latter character she always rode as a boy would, 
which was nothing to her, for she could govern any horse that 
any man could ride, and could drive four-in-hand with the best 
whip in those parts. Setting forth on one of her patriotic 
missions, she appropriated to herself the first horse she could 
lay her hands on ; and this offence had brought her where I saw 
her. She had quite a lovely face, though, as the reader may 
suppose from this sketch of her history, there was a lurking 
devil in her bright eye, which looked out pretty sharply from 
between her prison bars. 

There is a bomb-proof fort here of great strength, which 
occupies a bold position, and is capable, doubtless, of doing good 
service ; though the town is much too close upon the frontier 
to be long held, I should imagine, for its present purpose in 
troubled times. There is also a small navy-yard, where a 
couple of Government steamboats were building, and getting 
on vigorously. 

We left Kingston for Montreal on the tenth of May, at half- 
past nine in the morning, and proceeded in a steamboat down 
the St. Lawrence Eiver. The beauty of this noble stream at 
almost any point, but especially in the commencement of thid 
journey, when it winds its way among the thousand Islands, 
can hardly be imagined. The number and constant successions 
of these islands, all green and richly wooded ; their fluctuating 
sizes, some so large that for half an hour together one among 



242 AMERICAN NOTES 

them will appear as the opposite bank of the river, and some so 
small that they are mere dimples on its broad bosom ; their 
infinite variety of shapes ; and the numberless combinations of 
beautiful forms which the trees growing on them present ; all 
form a picture fraught with uncommon interest and pleasure. 

In the afternoon we shot down some rapids where the river 
boiled and bubbled strangely, and where the force and headlong 
violence of the current were tremendous. At seven o'clock we 
reached Dickenson's Landing, whence travellers proceed for two 
or three hours by stage-coach : the navigation of the river being 
rendered so dangerous and difficult in the interval, by rapids, 
that steamboats do not make the passage. The number and 
length of those portages, over which the roads are bad, and the 
travelling slow, render the way between the towns of Montreal 
and Kingston somewhat tedious. 

Our course lay over a wide, unenclosed tract of country at a 
little distance from the river-side, whence the bright warning 
lights on the dangerous parts of the St. Lawrence shone vividly. 
The night was dark and raw, and the way dreary enough. It 
was nearly ten o'clock when we reached the wharf where the 
next steamboat lay ; and went on board, and to bed. 

She lay there all night, and started as soon as it was day. 
The morning was ushered in by a violent thunder-storm, and 
was very wet, but gradually improved and brightened up. 
Going on deck after breakfast, I was amazed to see floating 
down with the stream a most gigantic raft, with some thirty or 
forty wooden houses upon it, and at least as many flag masts, 
so that it looked like a nautical street. I saw many of these 
rafts afterwards, but never one so large. All the timber, or 
" lumber," as it is called in America, which is brought down 
the St. Lawrence, is floated down in this manner. When the 
raft reaches its place of destination, it is broken up ; the 
materials are sold ; and the boatmen return for more. 

At eight we landed again, and travelled by a stage-coach for 
four hours through a pleasant and well-cultivated country, per- 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 243 

fectly French in every respect : in the appearance of the 
cottages ; the air, language, and dress of the peasantry, the 
sign-boards on the shops and taverns ; and the Virgin's shrines 
arid crosses by the wayside. Nearly every common labourer 
and boy, though he had no shoes to his feet, wore round his 
waist a sash of some bright colour : generally red : and the 
women, who were working in the fields and gardens, and doing 
all kinds of husbandry, wore, one and all, great flat straw hats 
with most capacious brims. There were Catholic Priests and 
Sisters of Charity in the village streets ; and images of the 
Saviour at the corners of cross-roads, and in other public 
places. 

At noon we went on board another steamboat, and reached 
the village of Lachine, nine miles from Montreal, by three 
o'clock. There we left the river, and went on by land. 

Montreal is pleasantly situated on the margin of the St. 
Lawrence, and is backed by some bold heights, about which 
there are charming rides and drives. The streets are generally 
narrow and irregular, as in most French towns of any age ; but, 
in the more modern parts of the city, they are wide and airy. 
They display a great variety of very good shops ; and both in 
the town and suburbs there are many excellent private dwell- 
ings. The granite quays are remarkable for their beauty, 
solidity, and extent. 

There is a very large Catholic cathedral here, recently 
erected; with two tall spires, of which one is yet unfinished. 
In the open space in front of this edifice stands a solitary, 
grim-looking, square brick tower, which has a quaint and 
remarkable appearance, and which the wiseacres of the place 
have consequently determined to pull down immediately. The 
Government House is very superior to that at Kingston, and 
the town is full of life and bustle. In one of the suburbs is a 
plank road — not footpath — five or six miles long, and a famous 
road it is too. All the rides in the vicinity were made doubly 
interesting by the bursting out of spring, which is here so rapid, 

a 2 



24 \ AMERICAN NOTE$ 

that it is but a day's leap from barren winter to the blooming 
youth of summer. 

The steamboats to Quebec perform the journey in the night ; 
that is to say, they leave Montreal at six in the evening, and 
arrive in Quebec at six next morning. We made this excursion 
during our stay in Montreal (which exceeded a fortnight), and 
were charmed by its interest and beauty. 

The impression made upon the visitor by this Gibraltar of 
America : its giddy heights ; its citadel suspended, as it were, 
in the air ; its picturesque steep streets and frowning gateways ; 
and the splendid views which burst upon the eye at every turn : 
is at once unique and lasting. 

It is a place not to be forgotten, or mixed up in the mind 
with other places, or altered for a moment in the crowd of 
scenes a traveller can recall. Apart from the realities of this 
most picturesque city, there are associations clustering about it 
which would make a desert rich in interest. The dangerous 
precipice along whose rocky front Wolfe and his brave com- 
panions climbed to glory ; the Plains of Abraham, where he 
received his mortal wound ; the fortress so chivalrously defended 
by Montcalm ; and his soldier's grave, dug for him, while yet 
alive, by the bursting of a shell ; are not the least among them, 
or among the gallant incidents of history. That is a noble 
Monument, too, and worthy of two great nations, which per- 
petuates the memory of both brave generals, and on which their 
names are jointly written. 

The city is rich in public institutions and in Catholic 
churches and charities, but it is mainly in the prospect from 
the site of the Old Government House, and from the Citadel, 
that its surpassing beauty lies. The exquisite expanse of 
country, rich in field and forest, mountain height and water, 
which lies stretched out before the view, with miles of Canadian 
villages, glancing in long white streaks, like veins along the 
landscape ; the motley crowd of gables, roofs, and chimney- 
tops in the old hilly town immediately at hand ; the beautiful 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 245 

St. Lawrence sparkling and flashing in the sun-light ; and the 
tiny ships below the rock from which you gaze, whose distant 
rigging looks like spiders' webs against the light, while casks 
and barrels on their decks dwindle into toys, and busy mariners 
become so many puppets : all this, framed by a sunken window 
in the fortress, and looked at from the shadowed room within, 
forms one of the brightest and most enchanting pictures that 
the eye can rest upon. 

In the spring of the year, vast numbers of emigrants, who 
have newly arrived from England or from Ireland, pass between 
Quebec and Montreal, on their way to the back-woods and new 
settlements of Canada. If it be an entertaining lounge (as I 
very often found it) to take a morning stroll upon the quay at 
Montreal, and see them grouped in hundreds on the public 
wharfs about their chests and boxes, it is matter of deep 
interest to be their fellow-passenger on one of these steamboats, 
and, mingling with the concourse, see and hear them unobserved. 

The vessel in which we returned from Quebec to Montreal 
was crowded with them, and at night they spread their beds 
between decks (those who had beds, at least), and slept so close 
and thick about our cabin door, that the passage to and fro was 
quite blocked up. They were nearly all English ; from Glou- 
cestershire the greater part ; and had had a long winter passage 
out ; but it was wonderful to see how clean the children had 
been kept, and how untiring in their love and self-denial all the 
poor parents were. 

Cant as we may, and as we shall to the end of all things, it 
is very much harder for the poor to be virtuous than it is for 
the rich ; and the good that is in them shines the brighter for 
it. In many a noble mansion lives a man, the best of husbands 
and of fathers, whose private worth in both capacities is justly 
lauded to the skies. But bring him here, upon this crowded 
deck. Strip from his fair young wife her silken dress and 
jewels, unbind her braided hair, stamp early wrinkles on her 
brow, pinch her pale cheek with care and much privation, array 



246 AMERICAN NOTES 

her faded form in coarsely-patched attire, let there be nothing 
but his love to set her forth or deck her out, and you shall put 
it to the proof indeed. So change his station in the world, 
that he shall see in those young things who climb about his 
knee : not records of his wealth and name : but little wrestlers 
with him for his daily bread ; so many poachers on his scanty 
meal ; so many units to divide his every sum of comfort, and 
farther to reduce its small amount. In lieu of the endearments 
of childhood in its sweetest aspect, heap upon him all its pains 
and wants, its sicknesses and ills, its fretfulness, caprice, and 
querulous endurance : let its prattle be, not of engaging infant 
fancies, but of cold, and thirst, and hunger : and if his fatherly 
affection outlive all this, and he be patient, watchful, tender ; 
careful of his children's lives, and mindful always of their joys 
and sorrows ; then send him back to Parliament, and Pulpit, 
and to Quarter Sessions, and when he hears fine talk of the 
depravity of those who live from hand to mouth, and labour 
hard to do it, let him speak up, as one who knows, and tell 
those holders forth that they, by parallel with such a class, 
should be High Angels in their daily lives, and lay but humble 
siege to Heaven at last. 

Which of us shall say what he would be, if such realities, 
with small relief or change all through his days, were his? 
Looking round upon these people ; far from home, houseless, 
indigent, wandering, weary with travel and hard living : and 
seeing how patiently they nursed and tended their young 
children ; how they consulted ever their wants first, then half 
supplied their own ; what gentle ministers of hope and faith 
the women were ; how the men profited by their example ; 
and how very, very seldom even a moment's petulance or harsh 
complaint broke out among them : I felt a stronger love and 
honour of my kind come glowing on my heart, and wished 
to God there had been many Atheists in the better part of human 
nature there, to read this simple lesson in the book of Life. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 247 

We left Montreal for New York again on the thirtieth of 
May ; crossing to La Prairie, on the opposite shore of the St. 
Lawrence, in a steamboat ; we then took the railroad to St. 
John's, which is on the brink of Lake Champlain. Our last 
greeting in Canada was from the English officers in the pleasant 
barracks at that place (a class of gentlemen who had made every 
hour of our visit memorable by their hospitality and friendship) ; 
and, with " Rule Britannia " sounding in our ears, soon left it 
far behind. 

But Canada has held, and always will retain, a foremost place 
in my remembrance. Few Englishmen are prepared to find it 
what it is. Advancing quietly ; old differences settling down, 
and being fast forgotten ; public feeling and private enterprise 
alike in a sound and wholesome state ; nothing of flush or fever 
in its system, but health and vigour throbbing in its steady 
pulse : it is full of hope and promise. To me — who had been 
accustomed to think of it as something left behind in the strides 
of advancing society, as something neglected and forgotten, 
slumbering and wasting in its sleep — the demand for labour 
and the rates of wages ; the busy quays of Montreal ; the 
vessels taking in their cargoes, and discharging them ; the 
amount of shipping in the different ports ; the commerce, 
roads, and public works, all made to last; the respectability 
and character of the public journals ; and the amount of 
rational comfort and happiness which honest industry may 
earn : were very great surprises. The steamboats on the 
lakes, in their conveniences, cleanliness, and safety ; in the 
gentlemanly character and bearing of their captains ; and 
in the politeness and perfect comfort of their social regula- 
tions ; are unsurpassed even by the famous Scotch vessels, 
deservedly so much esteemed at home. The inns are usually 
bad ; because the custom of boarding at hotels is not so general 
here as in the States, and the British officers, who form a 
large portion of the society of every town, live chiefly at the 
regimental messes : but, in every other respect, the traveller in 



248 AMERICAN NOTES 

Canada will find as good provision for his comfort as in any 
place I know. 

There is one American boat — the vessel which carried us on 
Lake Champlain, from St. John's to Whitehall — which I praise 
very highly, but no more than it deserves, when I say that it is 
superior even to that in which we went from Queenston to 
Toronto, or to that in which we travelled from the latter place 
to Kingston, or, I have no doubt I may add, to any other in 
the world. This steamboat, which is called the Burlington, is 
a perfectly exquisite achievement of neatness, elegance, and 
order. The decks are drawing-rooms ; the cabins are boudoirs, 
choicely furnished and adorned with prints, pictures, and 
musical instruments ; every nook and corner in the vessel is a 
perfect curiosity of graceful comfort and beautiful contrivance. 
Captain Sherman, her commander, to whose ingenuity and 
excellent taste these results are solely attributable, has bravely 
and worthily distinguished himself on more than one trying 
occasion : not least among them in having the moral courage 
to carry British troops, at a time (during the Canadian rebel- 
lion) when no other conveyance was open to them. He and 
his vessel are held in universal respect, both by his own 
countrymen and ours ; and no man ever enjoyed the popular 
esteem, who, in his sphere of action, won and wore it better 
than this gentleman. 

By means of this floating palace we were soon in the United 
States again, and called that evening at Burlington ; a pretty 
town, where we lay an hour or so. We reached Whitehall, 
where we were to disembark, at six next morning ; and might 
have done so earlier, but that these steamboats lie by for some 
hours in the night, in consequence of the lake becoming very 
narrow at that part of the journey, and difficult of navigation in 
the dark. Its width is so contracted at one point, indeed, that 
they are obliged to warp round by means of a rope. 

After breakfasting at Whitehall, we took the stage-coach for 
Albany : a large and busy town, where we arrived between five 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 249 

and six o'clock that afternoon ; after a very hot day's journey, 
for we were now in the height of summer again. At seven we 
started for New York on board a great North River steamboat, 
which was so crowded with passengers that the upper deck was 
like the box lobby of a theatre between the pieces, and the 
lower one like Tottenham Court Road on a Saturday night 
But we slept soundly, notwithstanding, and soon after five 
o'clock next morning reached New York. 

Tarrying here only that day and night to recruit after our 
late fatigues, we started off once more upon our last journey in 
America. We had yet five days to spare before embarking for 
England, and I had a great desire to see " the Shaker Village," 
which is peopled by a religious sect from whom it takes its 
name. 

To this end, we went up the North River again as far as the 
town of Hudson, and there hired an extra to carry us to Leba- 
non, thirty miles distant : and of course another and a different 
Lebanon from that village where I slept on the night of the 
Prairie trip. 

The country through which the road meandered was rich and 
beautiful ; the weather very fine ; and for many miles the Kaats- 
kill Mountains, where Rip Van Winkle and the ghastly Dutch- 
men played at ninepins one memorable gusty afternoon, towered 
in the blue distance like stately clouds. At one point, as we 
ascended a steep hill, athwart whose base a railroad, yet con- 
structing, took its course, we came upon an Irish colony. With 
means at hand of building decent cabins, it was wonderful to 
see how clumsy, rough, and wretched its hovels were. The best 
were poor protection from the weather ; the worst let in the 
wind and rain through wide breaches in the roofs of sodden 
grass, and in the walls of mud ; some had neither door nor 
window ; some had nearly fallen down, and were imperfectly 
propped up by stakes and poles ; all were ruinous and filthy. 
Hideously ugly old women and very buxom young ones, pigs, 
dogs, men, children, babies, pots, kettles, dunghills, vile refuse, 



250 AMERICAN NOTES 

rank straw, and standing water all wallowing together in an 
inseparable heap, composed the furniture of every dark and 
dirty hut. 

Between nine and ten o'clock at night we arrived at Lebanon : 
which is renowned for its warm baths, and for a great hotel, well 
adapted, I have no doubt, to the gregarious taste of those seekers 
after health or pleasure who repair here, but inexpressibly com- 
fortless to me. We were shown into an immense apartment, 
lighted by two dim candles, called the drawing-room : from 
which there was a descent, by a flight of steps, to another vast 
desert called the dining-room : our bedchambers were among 
certain long rows of little whitewashed cells, which opened from 
either side of a dreary passage ; and were so like rooms in a prison 
that I half expected to be locked up when I went to bed, and 
listened involuntarily for the turning of the key on the outside. 
There need be baths somewhere in the neighbourhood, for the 
other washing arrangements were on as limited a scale as I ever 
saw, even in America : indeed, these bedrooms were so very bare 
of even such common luxuries as chairs, that I should say they 
were not provided with enough of anything, but that I bethink 
myself of our having been most bountifully bitten all night. 

The house is very pleasantly situated, however, and we had a 
good breakfast. That done, we went to visit our place of desti- 
nation, which was some two miles off, and the way to which was 
soon indicated by a finger-post, whereon was painted, " To the 
Shaker Village." 

As we rode along, we passed a party of Shakers, who were at 
work upon the road ; who wore the broadest of all broad- 
brimmed hats ; and were in all visible respects such very wooden 
men, that I felt about as much sympathy for them, and as much 
interest in them, as if they had been so many figure-heads of 
ships. Presently we came to the beginning of the village, and 
alighting at the door of a house where the Shaker manufactures 
are sold, and which is the head-quarters of the elders, requested 
permission to see the Shaker worship. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 251 

Pending the conveyance of this request to some person in 
authority, we walked into a grim room, where several grim hats 
were hanging on grim pegs, and the time was grimly told by a 
grim clock, which uttered every tick with a kind of struggle, 
as if it broke the grim silence reluctantly, and under protest. 
Ranged against the wall were six or eight stiff, high-backed 
chairs, and they partook so strongly of the general grimness, 
that one would much rather have sat on the floor than incurred 
the smallest obligation to any of them. 

Presently, there stalked into this apartment a grim old Shaker, 
with eyes as hard, and dull, and cold as the great round metal 
buttons on his coat and waistcoat ; a sort of calm goblin. Being 
informed of our desire, he produced a newspaper wherein the 
body of elders, whereof he was a member, had advertised, but 
a few days before, that in consequence of certain unseemly inter- 
ruptions which their worship bad received from strangers, their 
chapel was closed to the public for the space of one year. 

As nothing was to be urged in opposition to this reasonable 
arrangement, we requested leave to make some trifling purchases 
of Shaker goods- ; which was grimly conceded. We accordingly 
repaired to a store in the same house, and on the opposite side 
of the passage, where the stock was presided over by something 
alive in a russet case, which the elder said was a woman ; and 
which I suppose was a woman, though I should not have sus- 
pected it. 

On the opposite side of the road was their place of worship : 
a cool, clean edifice of wood, with large windows and green 
blinds : like a spacious summer-house. As there was no getting 
into this place, and nothing was to be done but walk up and 
down, and look at it and the other buildings in the village 
(which were chiefly of wood, painted a dark red like English 
barns, and composed of many stories like English factories), I 
have nothing to communicate to the reader beyond the scanty 
results I gleaned the while our purchases were making. 

These people are called Shakers from their peculiar form of 



252 AMERICAN NOTES 

adoration, which consists of a dance, performed by the men and 
women of all ages, who arrange themselves for that purpose in 
opposite parties : the men first divesting themselves of their hats 
and coats, which they gravely hang against the wall before they 
begin ; and tying a ribbon round their shirt-sleeves, as though 
they were going to be bled. They accompany themselves with 
a droning, humming noise, and dance until they are quite 
exhausted, alternately advancing and retiring in -a preposterous 
sort of trot. The effect is said to be unspeakably absurd : and 
if I may judge from a print of this ceremony which I have in 
my possession ; and which, I am informed by those who have 
visited the chapel, is perfectly accurate ; it must be infinitely 
grotesque. 

They are governed by a woman, and her rule is understood to 
be absolute, though she has the assistance of a council of elders ; 
She lives, it is said, in strict seclusion, in certain rooms above 
the chapel, and is never shown to profane eyes. If she at all 
resemble the lady who presided over the store, it is a great 
charity to keep her as close as possible, and I cannot too 
strongly express my perfect concurrence in this benevolent pro- 
ceeding. 

All the possessions and revenues of the settlement are thrown 
into a common stock, which is managed by the elders. As they 
have made converts among people who were well to do in the 
world, and are frugal and thrifty, it is understood that this fund 
prospers : the more especially as they have made large purchases 
of land. Nor is this at Lebanon the only Shaker settlement : 
there are, I think, at least three others. 

They are good farmers, and all their produce is eagerly pur- 
chased and highly esteemed. " Shaker seeds," " Shaker herbs," 
and "Shaker distilled Avaters" are commonly announced for 
sale in the shops of towns and cities. They are good breeders 
of cattle, and are kind and merciful to the brute creation. Con- 
sequently, Shaker beasts seldom fail to find a ready market. 

They eat and drink together, after the Spartan model, at a 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 2 53 

great public table. There is no union of the sexes ; and every 
Shaker, male and female, is devoted to a life of celibacy. 
Eumour has been busy upon this theme, but here again I must 
refer to the lady of the store, and say, that if many of the sister 
Shakers resemble her, I treat all such slander as bearing on its 
face the strongest marks of wild improbability. But that they 
take as proselytes persons so young that they cannot know their 
own minds, and cannot possess much strength of resolution in 
this or any other respect, I can assert from my own observation 
of the extreme juvenility of certain youthful Shakers whom I 
saw at work among the party on the road. 

They are said to be good drivers of bargains, but to be honest 
and just in their transactions, and even in horse-dealing to resist 
those thievish tendencies which would seem, for some undis- 
covered reason, to be almost inseparable from that branch of 
traffic. In all matters they hold their own course quietly, live 
in their gloomy, silent commonwealth, and show little desire to 
interfere with other people. 

This is well enough, but nevertheless I cannot, I confess, 
incline towards the Shakers ; view them with much favour, or 
extend towards them any very lenient construction. I so abhor, 
and from my soul detest, that bad spirit, no matter by what 
class or sect it may be entertained, which would strip life of its 
healthful graces, rob youth of its innocent pleasures, pluck from 
maturity and age their pleasant ornaments, and make existence 
but a narrow path towards the grave. •. that odious spirit which, 
if it could have had full scope anr 1 . sway upon the earth, must 
have blasted and made barren the imaginations of the greatest 
men, and left them, in their power of raising up enduring 
images before their fellow-creatures yet unborn, no better than 
the beasts : that, in these very broad-brimmed hats and very 
sombre coats — in stiff-necked, solemn-visaged piety, in short, no 
matter what its garb, whether it have cropped hair as in a 
Shaker village, or long nails as in a Hindoo temple — I recognise 
the worst among the enemies of Heaven and Earth, who turn 



254 AMERICAN NOTES 

the water at the marriage feasts of this poor world, not into 
wine, but gall. And if there must be people vowed to crush 
the harmless fancies and the love of innocent delights and 
gaieties, which are a part of human nature : as much a part of it 
as any other love or hope that is our common portion : let them, 
for me, stand openly revealed among the ribald and licentious : 
the very idiots know that they are not on the Immortal road, and 
will despise them, and avoid them readily. 

Leaving the Shaker village with a hearty dislike of the old 
Shakers, and a hearty pity for the young ones : tempered by the 
strong probability of their running away as they grow older and 
wiser, which they not uncommonly do : we returned to Lebanon, 
and so to Hudson, by the way we had come upon the previous 
day. There we took steamboat down the North River towards 
New York, but stopped, some four hours' journey short of it, at 
West Point, where we remained that night, and all next day, and 
next night too. 

In this beautiful place : the fairest among the fair and lovely 
Highlands of the North River : shut in by deep green heights 
and ruined forts, and looking down upon the distant town of 
Newburgh, along a glittering path of sunlit water, with here 
and there a skiff, whose white sail often bends on some new 
tack as sudden flaws of wind come down upon her from the 
gullies in the hills : hemmed in, besides, all round, with memo- 
ries of Washington and events of the revolutionary war : is the 
Military School of America. 

It could not stand on more appropriate ground, and any 
ground more beautiful can hardly be. The course of education 
is severe, but well devised and manly. Through June, July, 
and August, the young men encamp upon the spacious plain 
whereon the college stands ; and all the year their military exer- 
cises are performed there daily. The term of study at this 
institution, which the State requires from all cadets, is four 
years ; but, whether it be from the rigid nature of the discipline, 
or the national impatience of restraint, or both causes combined, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 255 

not more than half the number who begin their studies here 
ever remain to finish them. 

The number of cadets being about equal to that of the mem- 
bers of Congress, one is sent here from every Congressional 
district: its member influencing the selection. Commissions in 
the service are distributed on the same principle. The dwellings 
of the various Professors are beautifully situated ; and there is a 
most excellent hotel for strangers, though it has the two draw- 
backs of being a total-abstinence house (wines and spirits being 
forbidden to the students), and of serving the public meals at 
rather uncomfortable hours : to wit, breakfast at seven, dinner at 
one, and supper at sunset. 

The beauty and freshness of this calm retreat, in the very 
dawn and greenness of summer — it was then the beginning of 
June — were exquisite indeed. Leaving it upon the sixth, and 
returning to New York, to embark for England on the suc- 
ceeding day, I was glad to think that among the last memorable 
beauties which had glided past us, and softened in the bright 
perspective, were those whose pictures, traced by no common 
hand, are fresh in most men's minds ; not easily to grow old, or 
fade beneath the dust of Time : the Kaatskill Mountains, Sleepy 
Hollow, and the Tappaan Zee. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



THE PASSAGE HOME. 



T NEVER had so much interest before, and very likely I shall 
-*■ never have so much interest again, in the state of the wind 
as on the long-looked-for morning of Tuesday, the Seventh of 
June. Some nautical authority had told me, a day or two 
previous, " Anything with west in it will do ; " so when I darted 
out of bed at daylight, and, throwing up the window, was 
saluted by a lively breeze from the north-west which had sprung 
up in the night, it came upon me so freshly, rustling with so 
many happy associations, that I conceived upon the spot a 
special regard for all airs blowing from that quarter of the com- 
pass, which I shall cherish, I dare say, until my own wind has 
breathed its last frail puff, and withdrawn itself for ever from 
the mortal calendar. 

The pilot had not been slow to take advantage of this 
favourable weather, and the ship which yesterday had been in 
such a crowded dock that she might have retired from trade for 
good and all, for any chance she seemed to have of going to 
sea, was now full sixteen miles away. A gallant sight she was, 
when we, fast gaining on her in a steamboat, saw her in the 
distance riding at anchor ; her tall masts pointing up in grace- 
ful lines against the sky, and every rope and spar expressed in 
delicate and thread-like outline : gallant, too, when, we being 
all aboard, the anchor came up to the sturdy chorus, "Cheerily, 
men, oh, cheerily ! " and she followed proudly in the towing 
steamboat's wake : but bravest and most gallant of all when, 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 257 

the tow-rope being cast adrift, the canvas fluttered from her 
masts, and, spreading her white wings, she soared away upon 
her free and solitary course. 

In the after-cabin we were only fifteen passengers in all, and 
the greater part were from Canada, where some of us had known 
each other. The night was rough and squally, so were the next 
two days, but they flew by quickly, and we were soon as cheer- 
ful and as snug a party, with an honest, manly-hearted captain 
at our head, as ever came to the resolution of being mutually 
agreeable, on land or water. 

We breakfasted at eight, lunched at twelve, dined at three, 
and took our tea at half-past seven. We had abundance of 
amusements, and dinner was not tbe least among them : firstly, 
for its own sake; secondly, because of its extraordinary length: 
its duration, inclusive of all the long pauses between the courses, 
being seldom less than two hours and a half ; which was a sub- 
ject of never-failing entertainment. By way of beguiling the 
tediousness of these banquets, a select association was formed at 
the lower end of the table, below the mast, to whose distin- 
guished president modesty forbids me to make any further 
allusion, which, being a, very hilarious and jovial institution, 
was (prejudice apart) in high favour with the rest of the com- 
munity, and particularly with a black steward, who lived for 
three weeks in a broad grin at the marvellous humour of these 
incorporated worthies. 

Then we had chess for those who played it, whist, cribbage, 
books, backgammon, and shovelboard. In all weathers, fair or 
foul, calm or windy, we were every one on deck, walking up and 
down in pairs, lying in the boats, leaning over the side, or 
chatting in a lazy group together. We had no lack of music, 
for one played the accordion, another the violin, and another 
(who usually began at six o'clock a.m.) the key-bugle : the com- 
bined effect of which instruments, when they all played different 
tunes, in different parts of the ship, at the same time, . and 
within hearing of each other, as they sometimes did (everybody 



258 AMERICAN NOTES 

being intensely satisfied with his own performance), was sub- 
limely hideous. 

When all these means of entertainment failed, a sail would 
heave in sight ; looming, perhaps, the very spirit, of a ship, in 
the misty distance, or passing us so close that through our 
glasses we could see the people on her decks, and easily make 
out her name, and whither she was bound. For hours together 
we could watch the dolphins and porpoises as they rolled and 
leaped and dived around the vessel ; or those small creatures 
ever on the wing, the Mother Carey's chickens, which had borne 
us company from New York Bay, and for a whole fortnight 
fluttered about the vessel's stern. For some days we had a 
dead calm, or very light winds, during which the crew amused 
themselves with fishing, and hooked an unlucky dolphin, who 
expired, in all his rainbow colours, on the deck : an event of 
such importance in our barren calendar, that afterwards we dated 
from the dolphin, and made the day on which he died an era. 

Besides all this, when we were five or six days out, there 
began to be much talk of icebergs, of which wandering islands 
an unusual number had been seen by the vessels" that had come 
into New York a day or two before we left that port, and of 
whose dangerous neighbourhood we were warned by the sudden 
coldness of the weather, and the sinking of the mercury in the 
barometer. While these tokens lasted, a double look-out was 
kept, and many dismal tales were whispered, after dark, of ships 
that had struck upon the ice and gone down in the night ; but 
the wind obliging us to hold a southward course, we saw none 
of them, and the weather soon grew_ bright and warm again. 

The observation every day at noon, and the subsequent work- 
ing of the vessel's course, was, as may be supposed, a feature in 
our lives of paramount importance ; nor were there wanting (as 
there never are) sagacious doxibters of the captain's calculations, 
who, so soon as his back was turned, would, in the absence of 
jompasses, measure the chart with bits of string, and ends of 
pocket-handkerchiefs, and points of snuffers, and clearly prove 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 259 

him to be wrong by an odd thousand miles or so. It was very 
edifying to see these unbelievers shake their heads and frown, 
and hear them hold forth strongly upon navigation : not that 
they knew anything about it, but that they always mistrusted 
the captain in calm weather, or when the wind was adverse. 
Indeed, the mercury itself is not so variable as this class of 
passengers, whom you will see, when the ship is going nobly 
through the water, quite pale with admiration, swearing that 
the captain beats all captains ever known, and even hinting at 
subscriptions for a piece of plate ; and who, next morning, when 
the breeze has lulled, and all the sails hang useless in the idle 
air, shake their despondent heads again, and say, with screwed- 
up lips, they hope that the captain is a sailor — but they shrewdly 
doubt him. 

It even became an occupation in the calm to wonder when 
the wind would spring up in the favourable quarter, where, it 
was clearly shown by all the rules and precedents, it ought to 
have sprung up long ago. The first mate, who whistled for it 
zealously, was much respected for his perseverance, and was 
regarded, even by the unbelievers, as a first-rate sailor. Many 
gloomy looks would be cast upward through the cabin sky-lights 
at the flapping sails while dinner was in progress ; and some, 
growing bold in ruefulness, predicted that we should land about 
the middle of July. There are always on board ship a Sanguine 
One and a Despondent One. The latter character carried it 
hollow at this period of the voyage, and triumphed over the 
Sanguine One at every meal, by inquiring where he supposed 
the Great Western (which left New York a week after us) was 
now : and where he supposed the Cunard steam-packet was 
now : and what he thought of sailing vessels as compared with 
steam-ships now : and so beset his life with pestilent attacks of 
that kind, that he, too, was obliged to affect despondency for 
very peace and quietude. 

These were additions to the list of entertaining incidents, but 
£here was still another source of interest. We carried in the 

s 2 



260 AMERICAN NOTES 

steerage nearly a hundred passengers : a little world of poverty : 
and, as we came to know individuals among them by sight, from 
looking down upon the deck where they took the air in the day^ 
time, and cooked their food, and very often ate it too, we became 
curious to know their histories, and with what expectations they 
had gone out to America, and on what errands they were going 
home, and what their circumstances were. The information we 
got on these heads from the carpenter, who had charge of these 
people, was often of the strangest kind. Some of them had 
been in America but three days, some but three months, and 
some had gone out in the last voyage of that very ship in which 
they were now returning home. Others had sold their clothes 
to raise the passage -money, and had hardly rags to cover them ; 
others had no food, and lived upon the charity of the rest : and 
one man, it was discovered nearly at the end of the voyage, not 
before — for he kept his secret close, and did not court compas- 
sion — had had no sustenance whatever but the bones and 
scraps of fat he took from the plates used in the after-cabin 
dinner, when they were put out to be washed. 

The whole system of shipping and conveying these unfortu- 
nate persons is one that stands in need of thorough revision. 
If any class deserve to be protected and assisted by the Govern- 
ment, it is that class who are banished from their native land 
in search of the bare means of subsistence. All that could be 
done for these poor people by the great compassion and humanity 
of the captain and officers was done, but they require much 
more. The law is bound, at least upon the English side, to see 
that too many of them are not put on board one ship : and that 
their accommodations are decent : not demoralising and profli- 
gate. It is bound, too, in common humanity, to declare that no 
man shall be taken on board without his stock of provisions 
being previously inspected by some proper officer, and pro- 
nounced moderately sufficient for his support upon the voyage. 
It is bound to provide, or to require that there be provided, a 
medical attendant; whereas in these ships there are none, 



£or Genera! circulation. £61 

though sickness of adults, and deaths of children, on the pas- 
sage, are matters of the very commonest occurrence. Above 
all, it is the duty of any Government, be it monarchy or 
republic, to interpose and put an end to that system by which 
a firm of traders in emigrants purchase of the owners the whole 
'tween-decks of a ship, and send on board as many wretched 
people as they can lay hold of, on any terms they can get., 
without the smallest reference to the conveniences of the steer- 
age, the number of berths, the slightest separation of the sexes, 
or anything but their own immediate profit. Nor is even this 
the worst of the vicious system : for, certain crimping agents 
of these houses, who have a per-centage on all the passengers 
they inveigle, are constantly travelling about those districts 
where poverty and discontent are rife, and tempting the credu- 
lous into more misery, by holding out monstrous inducements 
to emigration which can never be realised. 

The history of every family we had on board was pretty much 
the same. After hoarding up, and borrowing, and begging, and 
selling everything to pay the passage, they had gone out to 
New York, expecting to find its streets paved with gold ; and 
had found them paved with very hard and very real stones. 
Enterprise was dull ; labourers were not wanted ; jobs of work 
were to be got, but the payment was not. They were coming 
back, even poorer than they went. One of them was carrying 
an open letter from a young English artisan, who had been in 
New York a fortnight, to- a friend near Manchester, whom he 
strongly urged to follow him. One of the officers brought it to 
me as a curiosity. " This is the country, Jem," said the writer. 
" I like America. There is no despotism here ; that's the great 
thing. Employment of all sorts is going a begging, and wages 
are capital. You have only to choose a trade, Jem, and be it. 
I haven't made choice of one yet, but I shall soon. At present, 
I haven't quite made up my mind whether to be a carpenter or 
a tailor." 

There was yet another kind of passenger, and but one more, 



202 American notes 

who, in the calm and the light winds, was a constant theme of 
conversation and observation among us. This was an English 
sailor, a smart, thorough-built, English man-of-war s-man from 
his hat to his shoes, who was serving in the American navy, and, 
having got leave of absence, was on his way home to see his 
friends. When he presented himself to take and pay for his 
passage, it had been suggested to him that, being an able seaman, 
he might as well work it and save the money, but this piece of 
advice he very indignantly rejected : saying, " He'd be damned 
but for once he'd go aboard ship as a gentleman." Accordingly, 
they took his money, but he no sooner came aboard than he 
stowed his kit in the forecastle, arranged to mess with the crew, 
and, the very first time the hands were turned up, went aloft 
like a cat, before anybody. And all through the passage there 
he was, first at the braces, outermost on the yards, perpetually 
lending a hand everywhere, but always with a sober dignity in 
his manner, and a sober grin on his face, which plainly said, "I 
do it as a gentleman. For my own pleasure, mind you ! " 

At length and at last, the promised wind came up in right 
good earnest, and away we went before it, with every stitch of 
canvas set, slashing through the water nobly. There was a 
grandeur in the motion of the splendid ship, as, overshadowed 
by her mass of sails, she rode at a furious pace upon the waves, 
which filled one with an indescribable sense of pride and exulta- 
tion. As she plunged into a foaming valley, how I loved to see 
the green waves, bordered deep with white, come rushing on 
astern, to buoy her upward at their pleasure, and curl about her 
as she stooped again, but always own her for their haughty 
mistress still ! On, on we flew, with changing lights upon the 
water, being now in the blessed region of fleecy skies ; a bright 
sun lighting us by day, and a bright moon by night ; the vane 
pointing directly homeward, alike the truthful index to the 
favouring wind and to our cheerful hearts ; until at sunrise, one 
fair Monday morning — the twenty-seventh of June, I shall not 
easily forget the day — there lay before us old Cape Clear, God 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 263 

bless it, showing, in the mist of early morning, like a cloud : 
the brightest and most welcome cloud, to us, that ever hid the 
face of Heaven's fallen sister — Home. 

Dim speck as it was in the wide prospect, it made the sun- 
rise a more cheerful sight, and gave to it that sort of human 
interest which it seems to want at sea. There, as elsewhere, 
the return of day is inseparable from some sense of renewed 
hope and gladness ; but the light shining on the dreary waste 
of water, and showing it in all its vast extent of loneliness, pre- 
sents a solemn spectacle, which even night, veiling it in dark- 
ness and uncertainty, does not surpass. The rising of the moon 
is more in keeping with the solitary ocean ; and has an air of 
melancholy grandeur, which, in its soft and gentle influence, 
seems to comfort while it saddens. I recollect, when I was a 
very young child, having a fancy that the reflection of the moon 
in water was a path to Heaven, trodden by the spirits of good 
people on their way to God ; and this old feeling often came 
over me again, when I watched it on a tranquil night at sea. 

The wind was very light on this same Monday morning, but 
it was still in the right quarter, and so, by slow degrees, we left 
Cape Clear behind, and sailed along within sight of the coast of 
Ireland. And how merry we all were, and how loyal to the 
George Washington, and how full of mutual congratulations, 
and how venturesome in predicting the exact hour at which we 
should arrive at Liverpool, may be easily imagined and readily 
understood. Also, how heartily we drank the captain's health 
that day at dinner ; and how restless we became about packing 
up ; and how two or three of the most sanguine spirits rejected 
the idea of going to bed at all that night as something it was not 
worth while to do, so near the shore, but went nevertheless, and 
slept soundly ; and how to be so near our journey's end was like 
a pleasant dream, from which one feared to wake. 

The friendly breeze freshened again next day, and on we 
went once more before it gallantly : descrying now and then an 
English ship going homeward under shortened sail, while we, 



264 AMERICAN NOTES 

with every inch of canvas crowded on, dashed gaily past, and 
left her far behind. Towards evening the weather turned hazy, 
with a drizzling rain ; and soon became so thick, that we sailed, 
as it were, in a cloud. Still we swept onward like a phantom 
ship, and many an eager eye glanced up to where the Look-out 
on the mast kept watch for Holyhead. 

At length his long-expected cry was heard, and at the same 
moment there shone out from the haze and mist ahead a gleam- 
ing light, which presently was gone, and soon returned, and soon 
was gone again. Whenever it came back, the eyes of all on 
board brightened and sparkled like itself : and there we all stood, 
watching this revolving light upon the rock at Holyhead, and 
praising it for its brightness and its friendly warning, and laud- 
ing it, in short, above all other signal lights that ever were dis- 
played, until it once more glimmered faintly in the distance, far 
behind us. 

Then, it was time to fire a gun for a pilot ; and, almost 
before its smoke had cleared away, a little boat with a light at 
her masthead came bearing down upon us, through the darkness, 
swiftly. And presently, our sails being backed, she ran along- 
side ; and the hoarse pilot, wrapped and muffled in pea-coats 
and shawls to the very bridge of his weather-ploughed-up nose, 
stood bodily among us on the deck. And I think, if that pilot 
had wanted to borrow fifty pounds for an indefinite period on 
no security, we should have engaged to lend it him, among us, 
before his boat had dropped astern, or (which is the same thing) 
before every scrap of news in the paper he brought with him 
had become the common property of all on board. 

We turned in pretty late that night, and turned out pretty 
early next morning. By six o'clock we clustered on the deck, 
prepared to go ashore ; and looked upon the spires and roofs, 
and smoke, of Liverpool. By eight we all sat down in one of 
its hotels, to eat and drink together for the last time. And by 
nine we had shaken hands all round, and broken up our social 
company for ever. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 265 

The country, by the railroad, seemed, as we rattled through 
it, like a luxuriant garden. The beauty of the fields (so small 
they looked !), the hedgerows, and the trees ; the pretty cottages, 
the beds of flowers, the old churchyards, the antique houses, 
and every well-known object ; the exquisite delights of that one 
journey crowding, in the short compass of a summer's day, the 
joy of many years, and winding up with Home, and all that 
makes it dear ; no tongue can tell, or pen of mine describe. 



CHAPTER XVII. 



•T^HE upholders of slavery in America — of "the atrocities of 
which system I shall not write one word for which I have 
not ample proof and warrant — may be divided into three great 
classes. 

The first are those more moderate and rational owners of 
human cattle who have come into the possession of them as so 
many coins in their trading capital, but who admit the frighc- 
ful nature of the Institution in the abstract, and perceive the 
dangers to society with which it is fraught : dangers which, 
however distant they may be, or howsoever tardy in their 
coming on, are as certain to fall upon its guilty head as is the 
Day of Judgment. 

The second consists of all those owners, breeders, users, 
buyers, and sellers of slaves, who will, until the bloody chapter 
has a bloody end, own, breed, use, buy, and sell them at all 
hazards ; who doggedly deny the horrors of the system, in the 
teeth of such a mass of evidence as never was brought to bear 
on any other subject, and to which the experience of every day 
contributes its immense amount ; who would, at this or any 
other moment, gladly involve America in a war, civil or foreign, 
provided that it had for its sole end and object the assertion of 
their right to perpetuate slavery, and to whip and work and 
torture slaves, unquestioned by any human authority, and 
unassailed by any human power ; who, when they speak of 
Freedom, mean the Freedom to oppress their kind, and to be 
savage, merciless, and cruel ; and of whom every man on his 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 267 

own ground, in Republican America, is a more exacting, and a 
sterner, and a less responsible despot than the Caliph Haroun 
Alraschid in his angry robe of scarlet. 

The third, and not the least numerous or influential, is 
composed of all that delicate gentility which cannot bear a 
superior, and cannot brook an equal ; of that class whose 
Republicanism means, " I will not tolerate a man above me : 
and, of those below, none must approach too near;" whose 
pride, in a land where voluntary servitude is shunned as a dis- 
grace, must be ministered to by slaves ; and whose inalienable 
rights can only have their growth in negro wrongs. 

It has been sometimes urged that, in the unavailing efforts 
which have been made to advance the cause of Human Freedom 
in the republic of America (strange cause for history to treat 
of !), sufficient regard has not been had to the existence of the 
first class of persons ; and it has been contended that they are 
hardly used, in being confounded with the second. This is, no 
doubt, the case ; noble instances of pecuniary and personal 
sacrifice have already had their growth among them ; and it is 
much to be regretted that the gulf between them and the 
advocates of emancipation should have been widened and 
deepened by any means : the rather as there are, beyond 
dispute, among these slave-owners, many kind masters who are 
tender in the exercise of their unnatural power. Still it is to 
be feared that this injustice is inseparable from the state of 
things with which humanity and truth are called upon to deal. 
Slavery is not a whit the more endurable because some hearts 
are to be found which can partially resist its hardening 
influences ; nor can the indignant tide of honest wrath stand 
still, because in its onward course it overwhelms a few who are 
comparatively innocent among a host of guilty. 

The ground most commonly taken by these better men 
among the advocates of slavery is this : " It is a bad system ; 
and for myself I would willingly get rid of it, if I could ; most 
willingly. But it is not so bad as you in England take it to 



268 AMERICAN NOTES 

be. You are deceived by the representations of the emancipa- 
tionists. The greater part of my slaves are much attached to 
me. You will . say that I do not allow them to be severely 
treated ; but I will put it to you whether you believe that it 
can be a general practice to treat them inhumanly, when it 
would impair their value, and would be obviously against the 
interests of their masters." 

Is it the interest of any man to steal, to game, to waste his 
health and mental faculties by drunkenness, to lie, forswear 
himself, indulge hatred, seek desperate revenge, or do murder ? 
No. All these are roads to ruin. And why, then, do men 
tread them ? Because such inclinations are among the vicious 
qualities of mankind. Blot out, ye friends of slavery, from the 
catalogue of human passions, brutal lust, cruelty, and the abuse 
of irresponsible power (of all earthly temptations the most 
difficult to be resisted), and when ye have done so, and not 
before, we will inquire whether it be the interest of a master to 
lash and maim the slaves, over whose lives and limbs he has an 
absolute control ! 

But again : this class, together with that last one I have 
named, the miserable aristocracy spawned of a false republic, 
lift up their voices and exclaim, " Public opinion is all-sufficient 
to prevent such cruelty as you. denounce." Public opinion ! 
Why, public opinion in the slave States is slavery, is it not ? 
Public opinion in the slave States has delivered the slaves over 
to the gentle mercies of their masters. Public opinion has 
made the laws, and denied the slaves legislative protection. 
Public opinion has knotted the lash, heated the branding-iron, 
loaded the rifle, and shielded the murderer. Public opinion 
threatens the abolitionist with death, if he venture to the 
South ; and drags him with a rope about his middle, in broad 
unblushing noon, through the first city in the East. Public 
opinion has, within a few years, burned a slave alive at a slow 
fire in the city of St. Louis ; and public opinion has to this day 
maintained upon the bench that estimable Judge who charged 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. >6<) 

the Jury, impanelled there to try his murderers, that their most 
horrid deed was an act of public opinion, and, being so, must 
not be punished by the laws the public sentiment had made. 
Public opinion hailed this doctrine with a howl of wild 
applause, and set the prisoners free, to walk the city, men of 
mark, and influence, and station, as they had been before. 

Public opinion ! what class of men have an immense prepon- 
derance over the rest of the community in their power of repre- 
senting public opinion in the legislature ? The slave-owners. 
They send from their twelve States one hundred members, 
while the fourteen free States, with a free population nearly 
double, return but a hundred and forty-two. Before whom do 
the presidential candidates bow down the most humbly, on 
whom do they fawn the most fondly, and for whose tastes do 
they cater the most assiduously in their servile protestations ? 
The slave-owners always. 

Public opinion ! hear the public opinion of the free South 
as expressed by its own members in the House of Kepresenta- 
tives at Washington. " I have a great respect for the chair," 
quoth North Carolina, " I have a great respect for the chair as 
an officer of the House, and a great respect for him personally ; 
nothing but that respect prevents me from rushing to the table, 
and tearing that petition which has just been presented for the 
abolition of slavery in the district of Columbia to pieces." — " I 
warn the abolitionists," says South Carolina, " ignorant, infu- 
riated barbarians as they are, that if chance shall throw any of 
them into our hands, he may expect a felon's death." — " Let an 
abolitionist come within the borders of South Carolina," cries a 
third ; mild Carolina's colleague ; " and if we can catch him, 
we will try him, and, notwithstanding the interference of all 
the governments on earth, including the Federal Government, 
we will hang him." 

Public opinion has made this law. — It has declared that in 
Washington, in that city which takes its name from the father 
of American liberty, any justice of the peace may bind with 



270 AMERICAN NOTES 

fetters any negro passing down the street, and thrust him into 
gaol: no offence on the black man's part is necessary. The 
justice says, "I choose to think this man a runaway:"- and 
locks him up. Public opinion empowers the man of law, when 
this is done, to advertise the negro in the newspapers, warning 
his owner to come and claim him, or he will be sold to pay the 
gaol fees. But supposing he is a free black, and has no owner, 
it may naturally be presumed that he is set at liberty. No : 
he is sold to recompense his gaoler. This has been done 
again, and again, and again. He has no means of proving his 
freedom ; has no adviser, messenger, or assistance of any sort 
or kind; no investigation into his case is made, or inquiry 
instituted. He, a free man, who may have served for years, 
and bought his liberty, is thrown into gaol on no process, for 
no crime, and on no pretence of crime : and is sold to pay 
the gaol fees. This seems incredible, even of America, but it 
is the law. 

Public opinion is deferred to in such cases as the following ; 
which is headed in the newspapers — 

" Interesting Law-case. 

" An interesting case is now on trial in the Supreme Court, 
arising out of the following facts. A gentleman residing in 
Maryland had allowed an aged pair of his slaves substantial 
though not legal freedom for several years. "While thus living, 
a daughter was born to them, who grew up in the same liberty, 
until she married a free negro, and went with him to reside in 
Pennsylvania. They had several children, and lived unmolested 
until the original owner died, when his heir attempted to 
regain them ; but the magistrate before whom they were 
brought decided that he had no jurisdiction in the case. The 
owner seized the woman and her children in the night, and 
carried them to Maryland." 

" Cash for negroes," " cash for negroes," " cash for negroes," 



TOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 2"/ 1 

is the heading of advertisements in great capitals down the long 
columns of the crowded journals. Woodcuts of a runaway 
negro with manacled hands, crouching beneath a bluff pursuer 
in top-boots, who, having caught him, grasps him by the throat, 
agreeably diversify the pleasant text. The leading article pro- 
tests against "that abominable and hellish doctrine of abolition, 
which is repugnant alike to every law of God and nature." 
The delicate mamma, wbo smiles her acquiescence in this 
sprightly writing as she reads the paper in her cool piazza, 
quiets her youngest child who clings about her skirts by 
promising the boy " a whip to beat the little niggers with." — 
But the negroes, little and big, are protected by public opinion. 

Let us try this public opinion by another test, which is 
important in three points of view : first, as showing how despe- 
rately timid of the public opinion slave-owners are in their 
delicate descriptions of fugitive slaves in widely-circulated news- 
papers ; secondly, as showing how perfectly contented the slaves 
are, and how very seldom they run away ; thirdly, as exhibiting 
their entire freedom from scar, or blemish, or any mark of cruel 
infliction, as their pictures are drawn, not by lying abolitionists, 
but by their own truthful masters. 

The following are a few specimens of the advertisements in 
the public papers. It is only four years since the oldest among 
them appeared ; and others of the came nature continue to be 
published every day in shoals. 

" Kan away, Negress Caroline. Had on a collar with one 
prong turned down." 

" Kan away, a black woman, Bstsy. Had an iron bar on he:- 
right leg." 

'■' Ran away, the negro Manuel. Much marked with irons." 

" Ran away, the negress Fanny. Had on an iron band about 
her neck." 

" Ran away, a negro boy about twelve years old. Had 
round his neck a chain dog-collar with ' De Lampert ' engraved 
on it." 



27-2 AMERICAN NOTES 

" Ran away, the negro Hown. Has a ring of iron on his 
left foot. Also, Grise, his wife, having a ring and chain on the 
left leg." 

" Ran away, a negro boy named James. Said boy was ironed 
when he left me." 

" Committed to jail, a man who calls his name John. He 
has a clog of iron on his right foot which will weigh four or 
five pounds." 

" Detained at the police jail, the negro wench, Myra. Has 
several marks of lashing, and has irons on her feet." 

" Ran away, a negro woman and two children. A few days 
before she went off, I burnt her with a hot iron, on the left 
side of her face. I tried to make the letter M." 

" Ran away, a negro man named Henry ; his left eye out, 
some scars from a dirk on and under his left arm, and much 
scarred with the whip." 

" One hundred dollars reward, for a negro fellow, Pompey, 
40 years old. He is branded on the left jaw." 

" Committed to jail, a negro man. Has no toes on the left 
foot." 

" Ran away, a negro woman named Rachel. Has lost all her 
toes except the large one." 

" Ran away, Sam. He was shot a short time since through 
the hand, and has several shots in his left arm and side." 

" Ran away, my negro man Dennis. Said negro has been 
shot in the left arm between the shoulders and elbow, which 
has paralysed the left hand." 

" Ran away, my negro man named Simon. He has been 
shot badly, in his back and right arm." 

" Ran away, a negro named Arthur. Has a considerable scar 
- across his breast and each arm, made by a knife ; loves to talk 
much of the goodness of God." 

" Twenty-five dollars reward for my man Isaac. He has a 
scar on his forehead, caused by a blow ; and one on his back, 
made by a shot from a pistol." 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 273 

" Ran away, a negro girl called Mary. Has a small scar over 
her eye, a good many teeth missing, the letter A is branded on 
her cheek and forehead." 

" Ean away, negro Ben. Has a scar on his right hand ; his 
thumb and forefinger being injured by being shot last fall. A 
part of the bone came out. He has also one or two large scars 
on his back and hips." 

"Detained at the jail, a mulatto, named Tom. Has a scar on 
the right cheek, and appears to have been burned with powder 
on the face." 

" Ran away, a negro man named Ned. Three of his fingers 
are drawn into the palm of his hand by a cut. Has a scar on 
the back of his neck, nearly half round, done by a knife." 

" Was committed to jail, a negro man. Says his name is 
Josiah. His back very much scarred by the whip ; and branded 
on the thigh and hips in three or four places, thus (J M). The 
rim of his right ear has been bit or cut off." 

"Fifty dollars -reward, for my fellow Edward. He has a scar 
on the corner of his mouth, two cuts on and under his arm, and 
the letter E on his arm." 

" Ran away, negro boy Ellie. Has a scar on one of his arms 
from the bite of a dog." 

" Ran away, from the plantation of James Surgette, the 
following negroes : Randal, has one ear cropped ; Bob, has lost 
one eye ; Kentucky Tom, has one jaw broken." 

" Ran away, Anthony. One of his ears cut off, and his left 
hand cut with an axe." 

" Fifty dollars reward for the negro Jim Blake. Has a piece 
cut out of each ear, and the middle finger of the left hand cut 
off to the second joint." 

" Ran away, a negro woman named Maria. Has a scar on 
one side of her cheek, by a cut. Some scars on her- back." 

" Ran away, the Mulatto wench Mary. Has a cut on the left 
arm, a scar on the left shoulder, and two upper teeth missing." 

I should say, perhaps, in explanation of this latter piece of 



274 ' AMERICAN NOTES 

description, that, among the other blessings which public opinion 
secures to the negroes, is the common ^practice of violently 
punching out their teeth. To make them wear iron collars by- 
day and night, and^A worry them with dogs, are practices 
almost too ordinary to deserve mention. 

" Ean away, my man Fountain. Has holes in his ears, a scar 
on the right side of his forehead, has been shot in the hind parts 
of his legs, and is marked on the back with the whip." 

"Two hundred and fifty dollars reward for my negro man 
Jim. He is much marked with shot in his right thigh. The 
shot entered on the outside, halfway between the hip and knee 
joints." 

" Brought to jail, John. Left ear cropt." 

"Taken up, a negro man. Is very much scarred about T the 
face and body, and has the left ear bit off." 

"Ran away, a black girl named Mary. Has a scar on her 
cheek, and the end of one of her toes cut off." 

"Ran away, my mulatto woman, Judy. She has had her 
right arm broke." 

" Ran away, my negro man, Levi. His left hand has been 
burnt, and I think the end of his forefinger is off." 

" Ran away, a negro man, named Washington. Has lost a 
part of his middle finger, and the end of his little finger." 

" Twenty-five dollars reward for my man John. The tip of 
bis nose is bit off." 

" Twenty-five dollars reward for the negro slave Sally. Walks 
as though crippled in the back." 

"Ran away, Joe Dennis. Has a small notch in one of his 
ears." 

"Ran away, negro boy, Jack. Has a small crop out of his 
left ear." 

" Ran away, a negro man, named Ivory. Has a small piece 
cut out of the top of each ear." 

While upon the subject of ears, I may observe that a dis- 
tinguished abolitionist in New York once received a negro'a 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 275 

ear, which had been cut off close to the head, in a general post 
letter. It was forwarded by the free and independent gentle- 
man who had caused it to be amputated, with a polite request 
that he would place the specimen in his " collection." 

I could enlarge this catalogue with broken arms, and broken 
legs, and gashed flesh, and missing teeth, and lacerated backs, 
and bites of dogs, and brands of red-hot irons innumerable : 
but, as my readers will be sufficiently sickened and repelled 
already, I will turn to another branch of the subject. 

These advertisements, of which a similar collection might be 
made for every year, and month, and week, and day ; and which 
are coolly read in families as things of course, and as a part of 
the current news and small-talk ; will serve to show how very, 
much the slaves profit by public opinion, and how tender it is 
in their behalf. But it may be worth while to inquire how the 
slave-owners, and the class of society to which great numbers of 
them belong, defer to public opinion in their conduct, not to 
their slaves, but to each other ; how they are accustomed to 
restrain their passions ; what their bearing is among themselves ; 
whether they are fierce or gentle, whether their social customs 
• be brutal, sanguinary, and violent, or bear the impress of civil- 
isation and refinement. 

That we may have no partial evidence from abolitionists in 
this inquiry either, I will once more turn to their own news- 
papers, and I will confine myself, this time, to a selection from 
paragraphs which appeared from day to day during my visit to 
America, and which refer to occurrences happening while I was 
there. The italics in these extracts, as in the foregoing, are 
my own. 

These cases did not all occur, it will be seen, in territory 
actually belonging to legalised Slave States, though most, and 
those the very worst among them, did, as their counterparts con- 
stantly do ; but the position of the scenes of action in reference 
to places immediately at hand, where slavery is the law; and 
the strong resemblance between that class of outrages and the 



27.6 American notes 

rest ; lead to the just presumption that the character of the 
parties concerned was formed in slave districts, and brutalised 
by slave customs. 

"Horrible Tragedy. 

"By a slip from The Southport Telegraph, Wisconsin, we 
learn that the Hon. Charles C. P. Arndt, Member of the Council 
for Brown county, was shot dead on the floor of the Council 
chamber, by James K. Vinyard, Member from Grant county. 
The affair grew out of a nomination for Sheriff of Grant 
county. Mr. E. S. Baker was nominated and supported by 
Mr. Arndt. This nomination was opposed by Vinyard, who 
wanted the appointment to vest in his own brother. In 
the course of debate, the deceased made some statements 
which Vinyard pronounced false, and made use of violent and 
insulting language, dealing largely in personalities, to which 
Mr. A. made no reply. After the adjournment, Mr. A. stepped 
up to Vinyard, and requested him to retract, which he refused 
to do, repeating the offensive words. Mr. Arndt then made a 
blow at Vinyard, who drew back a pace, drew a pistol, and shot 
him dead. 

" The issue appears to have been provoked on the part of 
Vinyard, who was determined at all hazards to defeat the 
appointment of Baker, and who, himself defeated, turned his 
ire and revenge upon the unfortunate Arndt." 

" The Wisconsin Tragedy. 

" Public indignation runs high in the territory of Wisconsin, 
in relation to the murder of C. C. P. Arndt, in the Legislative 
Hall of the Territory. Meetings have been held in different 
counties of Wisconsin, denouncing the practice of secretly bear- 
ing arms in the Legislative chambers- of the country. We have 
seen the account of the expulsion of James B. Vinyard, the per- 
petrator of the bloody deed, and are amazed to hear, that, after 
this expulsion by those who saw Vinyard kill Mr. Arndt in the 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 277 

presence of his aged father, who was on a visit to see his son, 
little dreaming that he was to witness his murder, Judge Dunn 
has discharged Vinyard on bail. The Miners' Free Press speaks 
in terms of merited rebuke at the outrage upon the feelings of 
the people of Wisconsin. Vinyard was within arm's length of 
Mr. Arndt, when he took such deadly aim at him, that he never 
spoke. Vinyard might at pleasure, being so near, have only 
wounded him, but he chose to kill him." 

" Murder. 

"By a letter in a St. Louis paper of the 14th, we notice a 
terrible outrage at Burlington, Iowa. A Mr. Bridgman having 
had a difficulty with a citizen of the place, Mr. Ross ; a brother- 
in-law of the latter provided himself with one of Colt's revolving 
pistols, met Mr. B. in the street, and discharged the contents of 
five of the barrels at him : each shot taking effect. Mr. B., though 
horribly wounded, and dying, returned the fire, and killed Ross 
on the spot." 

" Terrible death of Robert Potter. 

"From the 'Caddo Gazette,' of the 12th inst., we learn the 

frightful death of Colonel Robert Potter He was beset 

in his house by an enemy, named Rose. He sprang from his 
couch, seized his gun, and, in his night clothes, rushed from the 
house. For about two hundred yards his speed seemed to defy 
his pursuers ; but, getting entangled in a thicket, he was captured. 
Rose told him that he intended to act a generous part, and give 
him a chance for his life. He then told Potter he might run, 
and he should not be interrupted till he reached a certain dis- 
tance. Potter started at the word of command, and before a 
gun was fired he had reached the lake. His first impulse was 
to jump into the water and dive for it, which he did. Rose 
was close behind him, and formed his men on the bank ready 
to shoot him as he rose. In a few seconds he came up to 
breathe j and scarce had his head reached the surface of the 



278 AMERICAN NOTES 

water when it was completely riddled with the shot of their 
guns, and he sunk, to rise no more !" 

" Murder in Arkansas. 

" We understand tlmt a severe rencontre came o/f a few days 
since in the Seneca Nation, between Mr. Loose, the sub-agent 
of the mixed band of the Senecas, Quapaw, and Shawnees, and 
Mr. James Gillespie, of the mercantile firm of Thomas G. Allison 
and Co., of Maysville, Benton, County Ark, in which the latter 
was slain with a bowie-knife. Some difficulty had for some time 
existed between the parties. It is said that Major Gillespie 
brought on the attack with a cane. A severe conflict ensued, 
during which two pistols were fired by Gillespie and one by 
Loose. Loose then stabbed Gillespie with one of those never- 
failing weapons, a bowie-knife. The death of Major G. is much 
regretted, as he was a liberal-minded and energetic man. Since 
the above was in type, we have learned that Major Allison has 
stated to some of our citizens in town that Mr. Loose gave the 
first blow. "We forbear to give any particulars, as the matter 
will be the subject of judicial investigation." 

"Foul Deed. 

" The steamer Thames, just from Missouri river, brought us 
a handbill, offering a reward of 500 dollars, for the person who 
assassinated Lilburn W. Baggs, late Governor of this State, at 
Independence, on the night of the 6th inst. Governor Baggs, it 
is stated in a written memorandum, was not dead, but mortally 
wounded. 

" Since the above was written, we received a note from the 
clerk of the Thames, giving the following particulars. Gov. 
Baggs was shot by some villain on Friday, Gth inst., in the 
evening, while sitting in a room in his own house in Independ- 
ence. His son, a boy, hearing a report, ran into the room, and 
found the Governor sitting in his chair, with his jaw fallen down, 
and his head leaning back : on discovering the injury done to 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 279 

his father, he gave the alarm. Foot tracks were found in the 
garden below the window, and a pistol picked up supposed to 
have been overloaded, and thrown from the hand of the scoundrel 
who fired it. Three buck shots of a heavy load took effect ; one 
going through his mouth, one into the brain, and another 
probably in or near the brain ; all going into the back part of 
the neck and head. The Governor was still alive on the morn- 
ing of the 7th ; but no hopes for his recovery by his friends, 
and but slight hopes from his physicians. 

"A man was suspected, and the Sheriff most probably has 
possession of him by this time. 

" The pistol was one of a pair stolen some days previous from 
a baker in Independence, and the legal authorities have the 
description of the other." 

" Rencontre. 

"An unfortunate affair took place on Friday evening in 
Chartres Street, in which one of our most respectable citizens 
received a dangerous wound, from a poignard, in the abdo- 
men. From the Bee (New Orleans) of yesterday, we learn the 
following particulars. It appears that an article was published 
in the French side of the paper on Monday last, containing 
some strictures on the Artillery Battalion for firing their guns 
on Sunday morning, in answer to those from the Ontario and 
Woodbury, and thereby much alarm was caused to the families of 
those persons who were out all night preserving the peace of the 
city. Major C. Gaily, Commander of the battalion, resenting 
this, called at the office and demanded the author's name ; that 
of Mr. P. Arpin was given to him, who was absent at the time. 
Some angry words then passed with one of the proprietors, and 
a challenge followed ; the friends of both parties tried to arrange 
the affair, but failed to do so. On Friday evening, about seven 
o'clock, Major Gaily met Mr. P. Arpin in Chartres Street, and 
accosted him. 'Are you Mr. Arpin ?' 

" ' Yes, sir,' 



280 AMERICAN NOTES 

" ' Then I have to tell you that you are a ' " (applying 

an appropriate epithet). 

" ' I shall remind you of your words, sir.' 
" ' But I have said I would break my cane on your shoulders.' 
" ' I know it, but I have not yet received the blow.' 
" At these words, Major Gaily, having a cane in his hands, 
struck Mr. Arpin across the face, and the latter drew a poignard 
from his pocket and stabbed Major Gaily in the abdomen. 

" Fears are entertained that the wound will be mortal. We 
understand that Mr. Arpin has given security for his appear- 
ance at the Criminal Court to answer the charge." 

"Affray in Mississippi. 

" On the 27th ult., in an affray near Carthage, Leake county, 
Mississippi, between James Cottingham and John Wilburn, the 
latter was shot by the former, and so horribly wounded, that 
there was no hope of his recovery. On the 2nd instant, there 
was an affray at Carthage between A. C. Sharkey and George 
Goff, in which the latter was shot, and thought mortally wounded. 
Sharkey delivered himself up to the authorities, but changed his 
mind and escaped ! " 

" Personal Encounter. 

" An encounter took place in Sparta, a few days since, between 
the barkeeper of an hotel, and a man named Bury. It appears 
that Bury had become somewhat noisy, and that the barkeeper, 
determined to preserve order, had threatened to shoot Bury, 
whereupon Bury drew a pistol and shot the barkeeper down. 
He was not dead at the last accounts, but slight hopes were 
entertained of his recovery." 

"Duel. 

" The clerk of the steamboat Tribune informs us that another 
duel was fought on Tuesday last, by Mr. Bobbins, a bank officer 
in Vicksburg, and Mr. Fall, the editor of the Vicksburg Sentinel. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 28 1 

According to the arrangement, the parties had six pistols each, 
which, after the word ' Fire ! ' they were to discharge as fast as 
they pleased. Fall fired two pistols without effect. Mr. Bob- 
bins' first shot took effect in Fall's thigh, who fell, and was 
unable to continue the combat." 

" Affray in Clarice County. 

" An unfortunate affray occurred in Clarke county (Mo.) near 
Waterloo, on Tuesday the 19 th ult., which originated in settling 
the partnership concerns of Messrs. M'Kane and MAllister, who 
had been engaged in the business of distilling, and resulted in 
the death of the latter, who was shot down by Mr. M'Kane, 
because of his attempting to take possession of seven barrels of 
whiskey, the property of M'Kane, which had been knocked off 
to MAllister at a sheriff's sale at one dollar per barrel. M'Kane 
immediately fled, and at the latest dates had not been talcen. 

" This unfortunate affray caused considerable excitement in 
the neighbourhood, as both the parties were men with large 
families depending upon them and stood well in the community." 

I will quote but one more paragraph, which, by reason of its 
monstrous absurdity, may be a relief to these atrocious deeds. 

"Affair of Honour. 

" We have just heard the particulars of a meeting which took 
place on Six Mile Island, on Tuesday, between two young bloods 
of our city : Samuel Thurston, aged fifteen, and William Hine, 
aged thirteen years. They were attended by young gentlemen 
of the same age. The weapons used on the occasion were a 
couple of Dickson's best rifles ; the distance, thirty yards. They 
took one fire, without any damage being sustained by either 
party, except the ball of Thurston's gun passing through the 
crown of Hine's hat. Through the intercession of the Board of 
Honour, the challenge was withdrawn, and the difference amicably 
adjusted,'' 



202 AMERICAN NOTES- 

If the reader will picture to himself the kind of Board of 
Honour which amicably adjusted the difference between these 
two little boys, who in any other part of the world would have 
been amicably adjusted on two porters' backs, and soundly 
flogged with birchen rods, he will be possessed, no doubt, with 
as strong a sense of its ludicrous character as that which sets me 
laughing whenever its image rises up before me. 

Now, I appeal to every human mind imbued with the com- 
monest of common sense, and the commonest of common human- 
ity ; to all dispassionate, reasoning creatures, of any shade of 
opinion ; and ask, with these revolting evidences of the state of 
society which exists in and about the slave districts of America 
before them, can they have a doubt of the real condition of the 
slave, or can they for a moment make a compromise between 
the institution or any of its flagrant fearful features, and their 
own just consciences ? Will they say of any tale of cruelty and 
horror, however aggravated in degree, that it is improbable, when 
they can turn to the public prints, and, running, read such signs 
as these, laid before them by the men who rule the slaves : in 
their own acts, and under their own hands ? 

Do we not know that the worst deformity and ugliness of 
slavery are at once the cause and the effect of the reckless 
licence taken by these free-born outlaws ? Do we not know 
that the man who has been born and bred among its wrongs ; 
who has seen in his childhood husbands obliged, at the word of 
command, to flog their wives ; women, indecently compelled to 
hold up their own garments that men might lay the heavier 
stripes upon their legs, driven and harried by brutal overseers 
in their time of travail, and becoming mothers on the field of 
toil, under the very lash itself ; who has read in youth, and seen 
his virgin sisters read, descriptions of runaway men and women, 
and their disfigured persons, which could not be published else- 
where of so much stock upon a farm, or at a show of beasts : — 
do we not know that that man, whenever his wrath is kindled up, 
will be a brutal savage ? Do we not know that as he is a coward 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 283 

in his domestic life, stalking among his shrinking men and 
women slaves armed with his heavy whip, so he will be a coward 
out of doors, and, carrying cowards' weapons hidden in his 
breast, will shoot men down and stab them when he quarrels ? 
And if our reason did not teach us this and much beyond ; if 
we were such idiots as to close our eyes to that fine mode of 
training which rears up such men ; should we not know that 
they who among their equals stab and pistol in the legislative 
halls, and in the counting-house, and on the market-place, and 
in all the elsewhere peaceful pursuits of life, must be to their 
dependants, even though they were free servants, so many mer- 
ciless and unrelenting tyrants ? 

What ! shall we declaim against the ignorant peasantry of 
Ireland, and mince the matter when these American taskmasters 
are in question ? Shall we cry shame on the brutality of those 
who ham-string cattle : and spare the lights of Freedom upon 
earth who notch the ears of men and women, cut pleasant posies 
in the shrinking flesh, learn to write with pens of red-hot iron 
on the human face, rack their poetic fancies for liveries of muti- 
lation which their slaves shall wear for life and carry to the 
grave, break living limbs as did the soldiery who mocked and 
slew the Saviour of the world, and set defenceless creatures up 
for targets ? Shall we whimper over legends of the tortures 
practised on each other by the Pagan Indians, and smile upon 
the cruelties of Christian men? Shall we, so long as these 
things last, exult above the scattered remnants of that stately 
race, and triumph in the white enjoyment of their broad pos- 
sessions ? Rather, for me, restore the forest and the Indian 
village ; in lieu of stars and stripes, let some poor feather flutter 
in the breeze ; replace the streets and squares by wigwams ; and 
though the death-song of a hundred haughty warriors fill the 
air, it will be music to the shriek of one unhappy slave. 

On one theme, which is commonly before our eyes, and in 
respect of which our national character is changing fast, let the 
plain Truth be spoken, and let us not, like dastards, beat about 



284 AMERICAN NOTES 

the bush by hinting at the Spaniard and the fierce Italian. 
When knives are drawn by Englishmen in conflict, let it be said 
and known : " We owe this change to Republican Slavery. 
These are the weapons of Freedom. With sharp points and 
edges such as these, Liberty in America hews and hacks her 
slaves ; or, failing that pursuit, her sons devote them to a better 
use, and turn them on each other." 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



CONCLUDING REMARKS. 



rFHERE are many passages in this book where I have been 
■^ at some pains to resist the temptation of troubling my 
readers with my own deductions and conclusions : preferring 
that they should judge for themselves, from such premises as I 
have laid before them. My only object in the outset was, to 
carry them with me faithfully wheresoever I went : and that 
task I have discharged. 

But I may be pardoned if, on such a theme as the general 
character of the American people, and the general character of 
their social system, aa presented to a stranger's eyes, I desire to 
express my own opinions in a few words, before I bring these 
volumes to a close. 

They are, by nature, frank, brave, cordial, hospitable, and 
affectionate. Cultivation and refinement seem but to enhance 
their warmth of heart and ardent enthusiasm ; and it is the 
possession of these latter qualities in a most remarkable degree 
which renders an educated American one of the most endearing 
and most generous of friends^ T"never was so won upon as by 
this class ; never yielded up my full confidence and esteem so 
readily and pleasurably as to them ; never can make again, in 
half a year, so many friends for whom I seem to entertain the 
regard of half a life. 

These qualities are natural, I implicitly believe, to the whole 
people. That they are, however, sadly sapped and blighted in 
their growth among the mass ; and that there are influences at 
work which endanger them still more, and give but little pre- 



286 AMERICAN NOTES 

sent promise of their healthy restoration, is a truth that ought 
to be told. 

It is an essential part of every national character to pique 
itself mightily upon its faults, and to deduce tokens of its virtue 
or its wisdom from their very exaggeration. One great blemish 
in the popular mind of America, and the prolific parent of an 
innumerable brood of evils, is Universal Distrust^ Yet the 
American citizen plumes himself upon this spirit, even when he 
is sufficiently dispassionate to perceive the ruin it works ; and 
will often adduce it, in spite of his own reason, as an instance of 
the great sagacity and acuteness of the people, and. their superior 
shrewdness and independence. 

" You carry," says the stranger, " this jealousy and distrust 
into every transaction of public life. By repelling worthy men 
from your legislative assemblies, it has bred up a class of candi- 
dates for the suffrage, who, in their every act, disgrace your 
Institutions and your people's choice. It has rendered you so 
fickle, and so given to change, that your inconstancy has passed 
into a proverb ; for you no sooner set up an idol firmly than 
you are sure to pull it down and dash it int o fr agments : and 
this because, directly you reward a benefactor, or a public ser- 
vant, you distrust him, merely because he is rewarded ; and 
immediately apply yourselves to find out, either that you have 
been too bountiful in your acknowledgments, or he remiss in 
his deserts. Any man who attains a high place among you, 
from the President downwards, may date his downfall from that 
moment ; for any printed lie that any notorious villain pens, 
although it militate directly against the character and conduct 
of a life, appeals at once to your distrust, and is believed. You 
will strain at a gnat in the way of trustfulness and confidence, 
however fairly won and well deserved ; but you will swallow a 
whole caravan of camels, if they be laden with unworthy doubts 
and mean suspicions. Is this well, think you, or likely to 
elevate the character of the governors or the governed among 
you ? " 



For general circulation. 287 

The answer is invariably the same : " There's freedom of 
opinion here, you know. Every man thinks for himself, and we 
are not to be easily overreached. That's how our people come 
to be suspicious."^ 

Another prominent feature is the love of " smart " dealing : 
which gilds over many a swindle and gross breach of trust ; 
many a defalcation, public and private ; and enables many a 
knave to hold his head up with the best, who well deserves a 
halter : though it has not been without its retributive operation, 
for this smartness has done more in a few years to impair the 
public credit, and to cripple the public resources, than dull 
honesty, however rash, could have effected in a century. The 
merits of a broken speculation, or a bankruptcy, or of a suc- 
cessful scoundrel, are not gauged by its or his observance of the 
golden rule, " Do as you would be done by," but are considered 
with reference to their smartness. I recollect, on both occasions 
of our passing that ill-fated Cairo on the Mississippi, remarking 
on the bad effects such gross deceits must have, when they 
exploded, in generating a want of confidence abroad, and dis- 
couraging foreign investment : but I was given to understand 
that this was a very smart scheme, by which a deal of money 
had been made : and that its smartest feature was, that they 
forgot these things abroad in a very short time, and speculated 
again as freely as ever. The following dialogue I have held a 
hundred times : " Is it not a very disgraceful circumstance that 
such a man as So-and-so should be acquiring a large property 
by the most infamous and odious means, and, notwithstanding 
all the crimes of which he has been guilty, should be tolerated 
and abetted by your citizens ? He is a public nuisance, is he 
not?" "Yes, sir." "A convicted liar ?" "Yes, sir." "He 
has been kicked, and cuffed, and caned?" "Yes, sir." "And 
he is utterly dishonourable, debased, and profligate ?" "Yes, 
sir." "In the name of wonder, then, what is his merit ?" "Well, 
sir, he is a smart man." 

In like manner, all kinds of deficient and impolitic usages are 



288 AMERICAN NOTES 

referred to the national love of trade \ though, oddly enough, 
it would be a weighty charge against a foreigner that he regarded 
the Americans as a trading people. The love of trade is assigned 
as a reason for that comfortless custom, so very prevalent in 
country towns, of married persons living in hotels, having no 

\ fireside of their own, and seldom meeting, from early morning 

i until late at night, but at the hasty public meals. The love of 

trade is a reason why the literature of America is to remain for 

ever unprotected : " For we are a trading people, and don't care 

for poetry : " though we do, by the way, profess to be very proud 

of our poets : while healthful amusements, cheerful means of 

, recreation, and wholesome fancies must fade before the stern 

' utilitarian joys of trade. 

These three characteristics are strongly presented at every 
turn, full in the stranger's view. But, the foul growth of 
America has a more tangled root than this ; and it strikes its 
fibres deep in its licentious Press. 

Schools may be erected, East, West, North, and South ; 
pupils be taught, and masters reared, by scores upon scores of 
thousands ; colleges may thrive, churches may be crammed, 
temperance may be diffused, and advancing knowledge in all 

r _ „_o±her forms walk through the land with giant strides : but 

\ while the newspaper press of America is in, or near, its present 
abject state, high moral improvement in that country is hope- 

"___ less. Year by year, it must and will go back ; year by year, 
the tone of public feeling must sink lower down ; year by year, 
the Congress and the Senate must become of less account before 
all decent men ; and year by year, the memory of the Great 
Fathers of the Eevolution must be outraged more and more, in 
the bad life of their degenerate child. 

Among the herd of journals which are published in the 
States, there are some, the reader scarcely need be told, of 
character and credit. From personal intercourse with accom- 
plished gentlemen connected with publications of this class, I 
have derived both pleasure and profit. But the name of these 



"FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 589 

is Few, and of the others Legion ; and the influence of the good 
is powerless to counteract the mortal poison of the bad. 

Among the gentry of America ; among the well-informed 
and moderate ; in the learned professions ; at the bar and on 
the bench : there is, as there can be, but one opinion, in refer- 
ence to the vicious character of these infamous journals. It is 
sometimes contended — I will not say strangely, for it is natural 
to seek excuses for such a disgrace— that their influence is not 
so great as a visitor would suppose. I must be pardoned for 
saying that there is no warrant for this plea, and tbat every fact 
and circumstance tends directly to the opposite conclusion. 

When any man, of any grade of desert in intellect or cha- 
racter, can climb to any public distinction, no matter what, in 
America, without first grovelling down upon the earth, and bend- 
ing the knee before this monster of depravity ; when any private 
excellence is safe from its attacks ; when any social confidence 
is left unbroken by it, or any tie of social decency and honour 
is held in the least regard ; when any man in that Free Country 
has freedom of opinion, and presumes to think for himself, and 
speak for himself, without humble reference to a censorship which, 
for its rampant ignorance and base dishonesty, he utterly loathes 
and despises in hio heart ; when those who most acutely feel its 
infamy, and the reproach it casts upon the nation, and who most 
denounce it to each other, dare to set their heels upon, and 
crush it openly, in the sight of all men : then I will believe that ) 
its influence is lessening, and men are returning to their manly 
senses. But while that Press has its evil eye in every house, 
and its black hand in every appointment in the state, from a 
president to a postman ; while, with ribald slander for its only 
stock-in-trade, it is the standard literature of an enormous class, 
who must find their reading in a newspaper, or they will not 
read at all ; so long must its odium be upon the country's head, 
and so long must the evil it works be plainly visible in the 
llepublic. 

To those who are accustomed to the leading English journals, 

V 



200 AMERICAN NOTES' 

or to the respectable journals of tlie Continent of Europe ; to 
those who are accustomed to anything else in print and paper ; 
it would be impossible, without an amount of extract for which 
I have neither space nor inclination, to convey an adequate idea 
of this frightful engine in America. But if any man desire 
confirmation of my statement on this head, let him repair to any 
place in this city of London, where scattered numbers of these 
publications are to be found ; and there let him form his own 
opinion.* 

It would be well, there can be no doubt, for the American 

\ people as a whole, if they loved the Real less, and the Ideal 
somewhat more. It would be well, if there were greater 
encouragement to lightness of heart and gaiety, and a wider 
cultivation of what is beautiful, without being eminently and 
directly useful. But here I think the general remonstrance, 
" We are a new country," which is so often advanced as an 
excuse for defects which are quite unjustifiable, as being of 
right only the slow growth of an old one, may be very treason- 
ably urged : and I yet hope to hear of there being some other 

[ national amusement in the United States, besides newspaper 
i politics. 

They certainly are not a humorous people, and their tem- 
perament always impressed me as being of a dull and gloomy 
character. In shrewdness of remark, and a certain cast-iron 
quaintness, the Yankees, or people of New England, unques- 
tionably take the lead ; as they do in most other evidences of 
intelligence. But in travelling about, out of the large cities — 
as I have remarked in former parts of these volumes — I was 

i quite oppressed by the prevailing seriousness and melancholy air 
of business : which was so general and unvarying, that, at every 

* Note to the Original Edition.— Or let him refer to an able and perfectly- 
truthful article in The Foreign Quarterly Review, published in the present month of 
October ; to -which my attention has been attracted, since these sheets have been 
passing through the press. He will find some specimens there, by no means remark- 
able to any man who has been in America, but sufficiently striking to one who has 
not. 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 291 

new town I came to. I seemed to meet the very same people 
whom I had left behind me at the last. Such defects as are 
perceptible in the national manners seem, to me, to be referable, 
in a great degree, to this cause : which has generated a dull, ' 
sullen persistence in coarse usages, and rejected the graces of 
life as undeserving of attention. There is no doubt that Wash- 
ington, who was always most scrupulous and exact on points of 
ceremony, perceived the tendency towards this mistake, even in 
his time, and did his utmost to correct it. 

I cannot hold, with other writers on these subjects, that the 
prevalence of various forms of Dissent in America is in any way 
attributable to the non-existence there of anElstablished Church : 
indeed, I think the temper of the peoplejjfjt admitted of such 
an Institution being founded amongst them, woulcLlead ihem to 
deser t it, as a matter of .course, merely because it wm established. 
But, supposing it to exist, I doubt its probable efficacy in sum- ! 
moning the wandering sheep to one great fold, simply because of 
the immense amount of Dissent which prevails at home ; and 
because I do not find in America any one form of religion with 
which we in Europe, or even in England, are unacquainted. Dis- 
senters resort thither in great numbers, as other people do, simply 
because it is a land of resort ; and great settlements of them 
are founded, because ground can be purchased, and towns and 
villages reared, where there were none of the human creation 
before. But even the Shakers emigrated from England ; our 
country is not unknown to Mr. Joseph Smith, the apostle of 
Mormonism, or to his benighted disciples ; I have beheld 
religious scenes myself, in some of our populous towns, which 
can hardly be surpassed by an American camp-meeting ; and 
I am not aware that any instance of superstitious imposture on 
the one hand, and superstitious credulity on the other, has 
had its origin in the United States, which we cannot more than 
parallel by the precedents of Mrs. Southcote, Mary Tofts the 
rabbit-breeder, or even Mr. Thom of Canterbury : which latter 
case arose some time after the dark ages had passed away. 

u 2 



2Q1' AMERICAN NOTES 

The Republican Institutions of America undoubtedly lead th< 
people to assert their self-respect and their equality ; but i 
traveller is bound to bear those Institutions in his mind, anc 
not hastily to resent the near approach of a class of stranger: 
who, at home, would keep aloof. This characteristic, when i 
was tinctured with no foolish pride, and stopped short of n< 
honest service, never offended me ; and I very seldom, if ever 
experienced its rude or unbecoming display. Once or twice ii 
was comically developed, as in the following case ; but this wai 
an amusing incident, and not the rule, or near it. 

I wanted a pair of boots at a certain town, for I had none t( 
travel in, but those with the memorable cork soles, which wen 
much too hot for the fiery decks of a steamboat. I therefor* 
sent a message to an artist in boots, importing, with my com' 
pliments, that I should be happy to see him, if he would d( 
me the polite favour to call. He very kindly returned foj 
answer, that he would " look round " at six o'clock that evening 

I was lying on the sofa, with a book and a wine-glass, ai 
about that time, when the door opened, and a gentleman in i 
stiff cravat, within a year or two on either side of thirty, entered 
in his hat and gloves; walked up to the looking-glass; arrangec 
his hair ; took off his gloves ; slowly produced a measure fron 
the uttermost depths of his coat pocket ; and requested me, ir 
a languid tone, to " unfix " my straps. I complied, but lookec 
with some curiosity at his hat, which was still upon his head 
It might have been that, or it might have been the heat — bui 
he took it off. Then, he sat himself down on a chair opposit< 
to me ; rested an arm on each knee ; and, leaning forward verj 
much, took from the ground, by a great effort, the specimen o: 
metropolitan workmanship which I had just pulled off : whis 
tling pleasantly as he did so. He turned it over and over ; sur 
veyed it with a contempt no language can express ; and inquirec 
if I wished him to fix me a boot like that ? I courteously 
replied that, provided the boots were large enough, I woulc 
leave the rest to him ; that, if convenient and practicable, ) 



FOR GENERAL CIRCQLATION. 293 

should not object to their bearing some resemblance to the 
model then before him ; but that I would be entirely guided by, 
and would beg to leave the whole subject to, his judgment and 
discretion. " You an't partickler about this scoop in the heel I 
suppose, then?" says he. "We don't foller that here." I 
repeated my last observation. He looked at himself in the 
glass again ; went closer to it to dash a grain or two of dust out of 
the corner of his eye ; and settled his cravat. All this time my 
leg and foot were in the air. " Nearly ready, sir ?" I inquired. 
" Well, pretty nigh," he said ; " keep steady." I kept as steady 
as I could, both in foot and face ; and having by this time got 
the dust out, and found his pencil-case, he measured me, and 
made the necessary notes. When he had finished, he fell into 
his old attitude, and, taking up the boot again, mused for some 
time. " And this," he said at last, "is an English boot, is it ? 
This is a London boot, eh ? " " That, sir," I replied, "is a Lon- 
don boot." He mused over it again, after the manner of Hamlet 
with Yorick's skull; nodded his head, as who should say, "I 
pity the Institutions that led to the production of this boot ;" 
rose ; put up his pencil, notes, and -paper — glancing at himself 
in the glass all the time — put on his hat ; drew on his gloves 
very slowly ; and finally walked out. When he had been 
gone about a minute, the door reopened, and his hat and his 
head reappeared. He looked round the room, and at the 
boot again, which was still lying on the floor ; appeared 
thoughtful for a minute, and then said, " Well, good arternoon." 
" Good afternoon, sir," said I : -and that was the end of the 
interview. 

There is but one other head on whieh I wish to offer a 
remark ; and that has reference to the public health. In so 
vast a country, where there are thousands of millions of acres of 
land yet unsettled and uncleared, and on every rood of which 
vegetable decomposition is annually taking place ; where there 
are so many great rivers, and such opposite varieties of climate ; 
there cannot fail to be a great amount of sickness at certain 



294 AMERICAN NOTES 

seasons. But I may venture to say, after conversing with many 
members of the medical profession in America, that I am not 
singular in the opinion that much of the disease which does 
prevail might he avoided, if a few common precautions were 
observed. Greater means of personal cleanliness are indispen- 
sable to this end ; the custom of hastily swallowing large 
quantities of" animal food three times a day, and rushing back 
to sedentary pursuits after each meal, must be changed; the 
gentler sex must go more wisely clad, and take more healthful 
exercise ; and in the latter clause the males must be included 
also. Above all, in public institutions, and throughout the 
whole of every town and city, the system of ventilation, and 
drainage, and removal of impurities requires to be thoroughly 
revised. There is no local Legislature in America which 
may not study Mr. Chadwick's excellent Eeport upon the 
Sanitary Condition of our Labouring Classes with immense 
advantage. 



I have now arrived at the close of this book. I have little 
;eason to believe, from certain warnings I have had since I 
returned to England, that it will be tenderly or favourably 
received by the American people ; and, as I have written the 
Truth in relation to the mass of those who form their judg- 
ments and express their opinions, it will be seen that I have 
no desire to court, by any adventitious means, the popular 
applause. 

It is enough for me to know that what I have set down 
in these pages cannot cost me a single friend on the other side 
of the Atlantic, who is, in anything, deserving of the name. 
For the rest, I put my trust, implicitly, in the spirit in which 
they have been conceived and penned ; and I can bide my 
time. 

I have made no reference to my reception, nor have I 



FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION. 295 

suffered it to influence me in what I have written ; for, in 
either case, I should have offered but a sorry acknowledgment, 
compared with that I bear within my breast, towards those 
partial readers of my former books across the "Water, who met 
me with an open hand, and not with one that closed upon an 
iron muzzle. 



END OF AMERICAN NOTES. 



POSTSCRIPT. 



At a Public Dinner given to me on Saturday, the 18th of April, 
1868, in the City of New York, by two hundred representatives 
of the Press of the United States of America, I made the follow- 
ing observations among others : — 

" So much of my voice has lately been heard in the land, that 
I might have been contented with troubling you no further from 
my present standing-point, were it not a duty with which I 
henceforth charge myself, not only here, but on every suitable 
occasion, whatsoever and wheresoever, to express my high and 
grateful sense of my second reception in America, and to bear my 
honest testimony to the national generosity and magnanimity. 
Also, to declare how astounded I have been by the amazing 
changes I have seen around me on every side, — changes moral, 
changes physical, changes in the amount of land subdued and 
peopled, changes in the rise of vast new cities, changes in the 
growth of older cities almost out of recognition, changes in 
the graces and amenities of life, changes in the Press, with- 
out whose advancement no advancement can take place any- 
where. Nor am I, believe me, so arrogant as to suppose that 
in five-and-twenty years there have been no changes in me, 
and that I had nothing to learn and no extreme impressions 
to correct when I was here first, And this brings me to a 



POSTSCRIPT. 297 

point on which I have, ever since I landed in the United 
States last November, observed a strict silence, though some- 
times tempted to break it, but in reference to which I will, with 
your good leave, take you into my confidence now. Even the 
Press, being human, may be sometimes mistaken or misin- 
formed, and I rather think that I have in one or two rare 
instances observed its information to be not strictly accurate 
with reference to myself. Indeed, I have, now and again, been 
more surprised by printed news that I have read of myself, 
than by any printed news that I have ever read in my pre- 
sent state of existence. Thus, the vigour and perseverance 
with which I have for some months past been collecting mate- 
rials for, and hammering away at, a new book on America 
has much astonished me ; seeing that all that time my decla- 
ration has been perfectly well known to my publishers on both 
sides of the Atlantic, that no consideration on earth would 
induce me to write one. But Avhat I have intended, what I 
have resolved upon (and this is the confidence I seek to place in 
you) is, on my return to England, in my own person, in my 
own Journal, to bear, for the behoof of my countrymen, such 
testimony to the gigantic changes in this country as I have 
hinted at to-night. Also, to record that wherever I have 
been, in the smallest places equally with the largest, I have been 
received with unsurpassable politeness, delicacy, sweet temper, 
hospitality, consideration, and with unsurpassable respect for 
the privacy daily enforced upon me by the nature of my avo- 
cation here, and the state of my health. This testimony, so 
long as I live, and so long as my descendants have any legal 
right in my books, I shall cause to be republished, as an appen- 
dix to every copy of those two books of mine in which I have 
referred to America, • And this I will do and cause -to be done, 



298 POSTSCRIPT. 

not in mere love and thankfulness, but because I regard it as 
an act of plain justice and honour." 

I said these words with the greatest earnestness that I could 
lay upon them, and I repeat them in print here with equal 
earnestness. So long as this book shall last, I hope that they 
will form a part of it, and will be fairly read as inseparable from 
my experiences and impressions of America. 

Charles Dickens. 
May., 1868. 



PICTURES FROM ITALY. 



PICTURES FROM ITALY. 



THE READER'S PASSPORT. 

TF the readers of this volume will be so kind as to take their 
credentials for the different places which are the subject of 
its author's reminiscences, from the Author himself, perhaps they 
may visit them, in fancy, the more agreeably, and with a better 
understanding of what they are to expect. 

Many books have been written upon Italy, affording many 
means of studying the history of that interesting country, and 
the innumerable associations entwined about it. I make but 
little reference to that stock of information ; not at all regard- 
ing it as a necessary consequence of my having, had recourse to 
the storehouse for my own benefit, that I should reproduce its 
easily accessible contents before the eyes of my readers. 

Neither will there be found, in these pages, any grave exami- 
nation into the government or misgovernment of any portion of 
the country. No visitor of that beautiful land can fail to have 
a strong conviction on the subject ; but as I chose when residing 
there, a Foreigner, to abstain from the discussion of any such 
questions with any order of Italians, so I would rather not enter 
on the inquiry now. During my twelve months' occupation of 
a house at Genoa, I never found that authorities, constitutionally 
jealous, were distrustful of me ; and I should be sorry to give 
them occasion to regret their free courtesy, either to myself or 
any of my countrymen. 

There is, probably, not a famous Picture or Statue in all 



302 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

Italy, but could be easily buried under a mountain of printed 
paper devoted to dissertations on it. I do not, therefore, though 
an earnest admirer of Painting and Sculpture, expatiate at any 
length on famous Pictures and Statues. 

This Book is a series of faint reflections — mere shadows in 
the water — of places to which the imaginations of most people 
are attracted in a greater or less degree, on which mine had 
dwelt for years, and which have some interest for all. The 
greater part of the descriptions were written on the spot, and 
sent home, from time to time, in private letters. I do not 
mention the circumstance as an excuse for any defects they 
may present, for it would be none ; but as a guarantee to the 
Reader that they were at least penned in the fulness of the 
subject, and with the liveliest impressions of novelty and 
freshness. 

If they have ever a fanciful and idle air, perhaps the reader 
Will suppose them written in the shade of a Sunny Day, in the 
midst of the objects of which they treat, and will like them none 
the worse for having such influences of the country upon them. 

I hope I am not likely to be misunderstood by Professors of 
the Roman Catholic faith, on account of anything contained in 
these pages. I have done my best, in one of my former pro- 
ductions, to do justice to them ; and I trust, in this, they will 
do justice to me. When I mention any exhibition that impressed 
me as absurd or disagreeable, I do not seek to connect it, or 
recognise it as necessarily connected, with any essentials of their 
creed. When I treat of the ceremonies of the Holy Week, I 
merely treat of their effect, and do not challenge the good and 
learned Dr. Wiseman's interpretation of their meaning. When 
I hint a dislike of nunneries for young girls who abjure the 
world before they have ever proved or known it ; or doubt the 
ex officio sanctity of all Priests and Friars ; I do no more than 
many conscientious Catholics both abroad and at home. 

I have likened these Pictures to shadows in the water, and 
would fain hope that I have, nowhere, stirred the water so 



THE READER'S PASSPORT. 



303 



roughly as to mar the shadows. I could never desire to be on 
better terms with all my friends than now, when distant moun- 
tains rise, once more, in my path. For I need not hesitate to 
avow that, bent on correcting a brief mistake I made, not long 
ago, in disturbing the old relations between myself and my 
readers, and departing for a moment from my old pursuits, I 
am about to resume them, joyfully, in Switzerland : where, 
during another year of absence, I can at once work out the 
themes I have now in my mind without interruption : and, 
while I keep my English audience within speaking distance, 
extend my knowledge of a noble country, inexpressibly attractive 
to me.* 

This book is made as accessible as possible, because it would 
be a great pleasure tome if I could hope, through its mean.*, to 
compare impressions with some among the multitudes who will 
hereafter visit the scenes described with interest and delight. 

And I have only now, in passport wise, to sketch my reader's 
portrait, which I hope may be thus supposititiously traced for 
either sex : 



Complexion 


. 


Fair. 


Eyes . 


. 


Very cheerful. 


Nose . 


. 


Not supercilious 


Mouth 


. 


Smiling. 


Visage 


. 


Beaming. 


General Expression 


Extremely agree 




* ITiis 


wan written in 1846. 



GOING THROUGH FRANCE. 

fXN a fine Sunday morning in the Midsummer time and 
weather of eighteen hundred and forty-four, it was, my 
good friend, when — don't be alarmed ; not when two travellers 
might have been observed slowly making their way over that 
picturesque and broken ground by which the first chapter of a 
Middle- Aged novel is usually attained — but when an English 
travelling carriage of considerable proportions, fresh from the 
shady halls of the Pantechnicon near Belgrave Square, London, 
was observed (by a very small French soldier ; for I saw him 
look at it) to issue from the gate of the Hotel Meurice, in the 
Rue Rivoli at Paris. 

I am no more bound to explain why the English family 
travelling by this carriage, inside and out, should be starting 
for Italy on a Sunday morning, of all good days in the week, 
than I am to assign a reason for all the little men in France 
being soldiers, and all the big men postillions : which is the 
invariable rule. But, they had some sort of reason for what 
they did, I have no doubt ; and their reason for being there at 
all was, as you know, that they were going to live in fair 
Genoa for a year ; and that the head of the family purposed, in 
;hat space of time, to stroll about wherever his restless humour 
carried him. 

And it would have been small comfort to mc to have explained 
to the population of Paris generally, that I was that Head and 
Chief; and not the radiant embodiment of good-humour who 
sat beside me in the person of a French Courier — best of 
servants and most beaming of men ! Truth to say, he looked 




CIVIL AND MILITARY. 



DEPARTURE FROM PARIS. 305 

a great deal more patriarchal than I, who, in the shadow of his 
portly presence, dwindled down to no account at all. 

There was, of course, very little in the aspect of Paris — as we 
rattled near the dismal Morgue and over the Pont Neuf — to 
reproach us for our Sunday travelling. The wine-shops (every 
second house) were driving a roaring trade ; awnings were 
spreading, and chairs and tables arranging, outside the cafe's, 
preparatory to the eating of ices, and drinking of cool liquids, 
later in the day ; shoe-blacks were busy on the bridges ; shops 
were open ; carts and waggons clattered to and fro ; the narrow, 
uphill, funnel-like streets across the River were so many dense 
perspectives of crowd and bustle, party-coloured nightcaps, 
tobacco-pipes, blouses, large boots, and shaggy heads of hair ; 
nothing at that hour denoted a day of rest, unless it were the 
appearance, here and there, of a family pleasure party, crammed 
into a bulky old lumbering cab ; or of some contemplative 
holiday-maker in the freest and easiest dishabille, leaning out of 
a low garret window, watching the drying of his newly-polished 
shoes on the little parapet outside (if a gentleman), or the 
airing of her stockings in the sun (if a lady), with calm antici- 
pation. 

Once clear of the never-to-be-forgotten-or-forgiven pavement 
which surrounds Paris, the first three days of travelling towards 
Marseilles are quiet and monotonous enough. To Sens. To 
Avallon. To Chalons. A sketch of one day's proceedings is a 
sketch of all three ; and here it is. 

We have four horses, and one postillion, who has a very long 
whip, and drives his team something like the Courier of St. 
Petersburg in the circle at Astley's or Franconi's : only he sits 
his own horse instead of standing on him. The immense jack- 
boots worn by these postillions are sometimes a century or two 
old ; and so ludicrously disproportionate to the wearer's foot, 
that the spur, which is put where his own heel comes, is gene- 
rally half-way up the leg of the boots. The man often comes 
put of the stabk-yard, with his whip in his hand and his shoes 



306 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

on, and brings out, in both hands, one boot at a time, which he 
plants on the ground by the side of his horse, with great gravity, 
until everything is ready. When it is — and, oh Heaven ! the 
noise they make about it r — he gets into the boots, shoes and 
all, or is hoisted into them by a couple of friends ; adjusts the 
rope harness, embossed by the labours of innumerable pigeons 
in the stables ; makes all the horses kick and plunge ; cracks 
his whip like a madman ; shouts " En route — Hi ! " and away 
we go. He is sure to have a contest with his horse before we 
have gone very far ; and then he calls him a Thief, and a 
Brigand, and a Pig, and what not; and beats him about the head 
as if he were made of wood. 

There is little more than one variety in the appearance of the 
country for the first two days. From a dreary plain, to an inter- 
minable avenue, and from an interminable avenue to a dreary 
plain again. Plenty of vines there are in the open fields, but of 
a short low kind, and not trained in festoons, but about straight 
sticks. Beggars innumerable there are, everywhere ; but an 
extraordinarily scanty population, and fewer children than I 
ever encountered. I don't believe we saw a hundred children 
between Paris and Chalons. Queer old towns, drawbridged and 
walled : with odd little towers at the angles, like grotesque 
faces, as if the wall had put a mask on, and were staring down 
into the moat ; other strange little towers, in gardens and fields, 
and down lanes, and in farmyards : all alone, and always round 
with a peaked roof, and never used for any purpose at all ; 
ruinous buildings of all sorts : sometimes an hotel de ville, 
sometimes a guard-house, sometimes a dwelling-house, some- 
times a chateau with a rank garden, prolific in dandelion, and 
watched over by extinguisher-topped turrets, and blink-eyed 
little casements ; are the standard objects, repeated over and 
over again. Sometimes we pass a village inn, with a crumbling 
wall belonging to it, and a perfect town of outhouses ! and 
painted over the gateway, " Stabling for Sixty Horses ; " as, 
indeed, there might be stabling for sixty score, were there any 



TO CHALONS. 307 

horses to be stabled there, or anybody resting there, or anything 
stirring about the place but a dangling bush, indicative of the 
wine inside ; which flutters idly in the wind, in lazy keeping 
with everything else, and certainly is never in a green old age, 
though always so old as to be dropping to pieces. And all day 
long, strange little narrow waggons, in strings of six or eight, 
bringing cheese from Switzerland, and frequently in charge, the 
whole line, of one man or even boy — and he very often asleep 
in the foremost cart — come jingling past : the horses drowsily 
ringing the bells upon their harness, and looking as if they 
thought (no doubt they do) their great blue woolly furniture, 
of immense weight and thickness, with a pair of grotesque 
horns growing out of the collar, very much too warm for the 
Midsummer weather. 

Then, there is the Diligence, twice or thrice a day ; with the 
dusty outsides in blue frocks, like butchers ; and the insides in 
white nightcaps ; and its cabriolet head on the roof, nodding 
and shaking, like an idiot's head ; and its Young-France 
passengers staring out of window, with beards down to their 
waists, and blue spectacles awfully shading their warlike eyes, 
and very big sticks clenched in their National grasp. - Also the 
Malle Poste, with only a couple of passengers, tearing along at 
a real good dare-devil pace, and out of sight in no time. Steady 
old Cure's come jolting past, now and then, in such ramshackle, 
rusty, musty, clattering coaches as no Englishman would believe 
in ; and bony women dawdle about in solitary places, holding 
cows by ropes while they feed, or digging and hoeing, or doing 
field-work of a more laborious kind, or representing real 
shepherdesses with their flocks — to obtain an adequate idea of 
which pursuit and its followers, in any country, it is only 
necessary to take any pastoral poem, or picture, and imagine 
to yourself whatever is most exquisitely and widely unlike the 
descriptions therein contained. 

You have been travelling along, stupidly enough, as you 
generally do, in the last stage of the day ; and the ninety-six 

x 2 



308 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

bells upon the horses — twenty-four apiece — have been ringing 
sleepily in your ears for half an hour or so ; and it has become 
a very jog-trot, monotonous, tiresome sort of business ; and you 
have been thinking deeply about the dinner you ■will have at 
the next stage ; when, down at the end of the long avenue of 
trees through which you are travelling, the first indication of a 
town appears, in the shape of some straggling cottages : and 
the carriage begins to rattle and roll over a horribly uneven 
pavement. As if the equipage were a great firework, and the 
mere sight of a smoking cottage chimney had lighted it, instantly 
it begins to crack and splutter, as if the very devil were in it. 
Crack, crack, crack, crack. Crack-crack-crack. Crick-crack. 
Crick-crack. Helo ! Hola ! Vite ! Voleur ! Brigand ! Hi, 
hi, hi ! En r-r-r-r-r-route ! Whip, wheels, driver, stones, 
beggars, children ; crack, crack, crack ; helo ! hola ! charite* 
pour 1' amour de Dieu ! crick-crack-crick-crack ; crick, crick, 
crick ; bump, jolt, crack, bump, crick-crack ; round the corner, 
up the narrow street, down the paved hill on the other side ; in 
the gutter ; bump, bump ; jolt, jog, crick, crick, crick ; crack, 
crack, crack ; into the shop-windows on the left-hand side of 
the street, preliminary to a sweeping turn into the wooden arch- 
way on the right ; rumble, rumble, rumble ; clatter, clatter, 
clatter ; crick, crick, crick ; and here we are in the yard of the 
Hotel de l'Ecu d'Or ; used up, gone out, smoking, spent, 
exhausted ; but sometimes making a false start unexpectedly, 
with nothing coming of it — like a firework to the last ! 

The landlady of the H6tel de l'Ecu d'Or is here ; and the 
landlord of the Hotel de l'Ecu d'Or is here ; and the femme de 
chambre of the Hotel de l'Ecu d'Or is here ; and a gentle- 
man in a glazed cap, with a red beard like a bosom friend, who 
is staying at the Hotel de l'Ecu d'Or is here ; and Monsieur le 
Cure" is walking up and down in a corner of the yard by him- 
self, with a shovel hat upon his head, and a black gown on his 
back, and a book in one hand, and an umbrella in the other ; 
and everybody, except Monsieur le Cure", is open-mouthed and 



TO CHALONS. 300 

Open-eyed, for the opening of the carriage door. The landlord 
of the H6tel de l'Ecu d'Or dotes to that extent upon the 
Courier, that lie can hardly wait for his coining down from the 
box, but embraces his very legs and boot-heels as he descends. 
" My Courier ! My brave Courier ! My friend ! My brother ! " 
The landlady loves him, the femme de chambre blesses him, 
the garcon worships him. The Courier asks if his letter has 
been received ? It has, it has. Are the rooms prepared ? 
They are, they are. The best rooms for my noble Courier. 
The rooms of state for my gallant Courier ; the whole house is 
at the service of my best of friends ! He keeps his hand upon 
the carriage door, and asks some other question to enhance the 
expectation. He carries a green leathern purse outside his 
coat, suspended by a belt. The idlers look at it ; one touches 
it. It is full of five-franc pieces. Murmurs of admiration are 
heard among the boys. The landlord falls upon the Courier's 
neck, and folds him to his breast. He is so much fatter than 
he was, he says. He looks so rosy and so well ! 

The door is opened. Breathless expectation. The lady of 
the family gets out. Ah, sweet lady ! Beautiful lady ! The 
sister of the lady of the family gets out. Great Heaven, 
mam'selle is charming ! First little boy gets out. Ah, what 
a beautiful little boy ! First little girl gets out. Oh, but this 
is an enchanting child ! Second little girl gets out. The 
landlady, yielding to the finest impulse of our common nature, 
catches her up in her arms ! Second little boy gets out. Oh, 
the sweet boy ! Oh, the tender little family ! The baby is 
handed out. Angelic baby ! The baby has topped everything. 
All the rapture is expended on the baby ! Then the two 
nurses tumble out ; and the enthusiasm swelling into madness, 
the whole family are swept up-stairs as on a cloud ; while the 
idlers press about the carriage, and look into it, and walk round 
it, and touch it. For it is something to touch a carriage that 
has held so many people. It is a legacy to leave one's children. 

The rooms are on the first floor, except the nursery for the 



310 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

night, which is a great rambling chamber, with four or five 
beds in it : through a dark passage, up two steps, down four, 
past a pump, across a balcony, and next door to the stable. 
The other sleeping apartments are large and lofty ; each with 
two small bedsteads, tastefully hung, like the windows, with red 
and white drapery. The sitting-room is famous. Dinner is 
a^eady laid in it for three ; and the napkins are folded in 
cocked-hat fashion. The floors are of red tile. There are no 
carpets, and not much furniture to speak of; but there is 
abundance of looking-glass, and there are large vases under 
glass shades, filled with artificial flowers ; and there are plenty 
of clocks. The whole party are in motion. The Brave Courier, 
in particular, is everywhere : looking after the beds, having 
wine poured down his throat by his dear brother the landlord, 
and picking up green cucumbers — always cucumbers ; Heaven 
knows where he gets them — with which he walks about, one 
in each hand, like truncheons. 

Dinner is announced. There is very thin soup ; there are 
very large loaves — one apiece ; a fish ; four dishes afterwards ; 
some poultry afterwards ; a dessert afterwards ; and no lack of 
wine. There is not much in the dishes ; but they are very 
good, and always ready instantly. When it is nearly dark, the 
Brave Courier, having eaten the two cucumbers, sliced up in the 
contents of a pretty large decanter of oil, and another of vinegar, 
emerges from his retreat below, and proposes a visit to the 
Cathedral, whose massive tower frowns down upon the court- 
yard of the inn. Off we go ; and very solemn and grand it is 
in the dim light : so dim at last, that the polite, old, lantern- 
jawed Sacristan has a feeble little bit of candle in his hand, to 
grope among the tombs with — and looks, among the grim 
columns, very like a lost ghost who is searching for his own. 

Underneath the balcony, when we return, the inferior servants 
of the inn are supping in the open air, at a great table ; the 
dish a stew of meat and vegetables, smoking hot, and served in 
the iron cauldron it Avas boiled in. They have a pitcher of thin 



TO CHALONS. 311 

wine, and are very merry ; merrier than the gentleman with the 
red beard, who is playing billiards in the light room on the left 
of the yard, where shadows, with cues in their hands, and cigars 
in their mouths, cross and recross the window constantly. Still 
the thin Cure' walks up and down alone, with his book and 
umbrella. And there he walks, and there the billiard balls 
rattle, long after we are fast asleep. 

We are astir at six next morning. It is a delightful day, 
shaming yesterday's mud upon the carriage, if anything could 
shame a carriage, in a land where carriages are never cleaned. 
Everybody is brisk ; and as we finish breakfast, the horses come 
jingling into the yard from the Post-house. Everything taken 
out of the carriage is put back again. The Brave Courier 
announces that all is ready, after walking into every room, and 
looking all round it, to be certain that nothing is left behind. 
Everybody gets in. Everybody connected with the Hotel de 
l'Ecu d'Or is again enchanted. The Brave Courier runs into the 
house for a parcel containing cold fowl, sliced ham, bread, and 
biscuits, for lunch ; hands it into the coach ; and runs back 
again. 

"What has he got in his hand now ? More cucumbers ? No. 
A long strip of paper. It's the bill. 

The Brave Courier has two belts on this morning : one sup- 
porting the purse : another, a mighty good sort of leathern 
bottle, filled to the throat with the best light Bordeaux wine in 
the house. He never pays the bill till this bottle is full. Then 
he disputes it. 

He disputes it now, violently. He is still the landlord's 
brother, but by another father or mother. He is not so nearly 
related to him as he was last night. The landlord scratches 
his head. The Brave Courier points to certain figures in the 
bill, and intimates that if they remain there, the Hotel de l'Ecu 
d'Or is thenceforth and for ever an hotel de l'Ecu de cuivre. 
The landlord goes into a little counting-house. The Brave 
Courier follows, forces the bill and a pen into his hand, and 



$ii PlCTUfe.ES FROM ITALY. 

talks more rapidly than ever. The landlord takes the pen. The 
Courier smiles. The landlord makes an alteration. The Courier 
cuts a joke. The landlord is affectionate, but not weakly so. 
He bears it like a man. He shakes hands with his brave 
brother, but he don't hug him. Still, he loves his brother ; for 
he knows that he will be returning that way, one of these fine 
days, with another family, and he foresees that his heart will 
yearn towards him again. The Brave Courier traverses all round 
the carriage once, looks at the drag, inspects the wheels, jumps 
up, gives the word, and away we go ! 

It is market morning. The market is held in the little 
square outside, in front of the cathedral. It is crowded with 
men and women, in blue, in red, in green, in white ; with 
canvassed stalls ; and fluttering merchandise. The country- 
people are grouped about, with their clean baskets before them. 
Here, the lace-sellers ; there, the butter and egg sellers ; there, 
the fruit-sellers ; there, the shoemakers. The whole place looks 
as if it were the stage of some great theatre, and the curtain 
had just run up, for a picturesque ballet. And there is the 
cathedral to boot : scene-like : all grim, and swarthy, and 
mouldering, and cold : just splashing the pavement in one 
place with faint purple drops, as the morning sun, entering by 
a little window on the eastern side, struggles through some 
stained-glass panes on the western. 

In five minutes we have passed the iron cross, with a little 
ragged kneeling-place of turf before it, in the outskirts of the 
town ; and are again upon the road. 



LYONS, THE RHONE, AND THE GOBLIN OP 
AVIGNON. 

/^HALONS is a fair resting-place, in right of its good inn on 
^ the bank of the river, and the little steamboats, gay with 
green and red paint, that come and go upon it : which make 
up a pleasant and refreshing scene, after the dusty roads. But, 
unless you would like to dwell on an enormous plain, with 
jagged rows of irregular poplars on it, that look in the distance 
like so many combs with broken teeth : and unless you would 
like to pass your life without the possibility of going uphill, or 
going up anything but stairs : you would hardly approve of 
Chalons as a place of residence. 

You would probably like it better, however, than Lyons ; 
which you may reach, if you will, in one of the before- 
mentioned steamboats, in eight hours. 

What a city Lyons is ! Talk about people feeling, at certain 
unlucky times, as if they had tumbled from the clouds \ Here 
is a whole town that has tumbled, anyhow, out of the sky ; 
having been first caught up, like other stones that tumble down 
from that region, out of fens and barren places, dismal to 
behold ! The two great streets through which the two great 
rivers dash, and all the little streets whose name is Legion, 
were scorching, blistering, and sweltering. The houses, high 
and vast, dirty to excess, rotten as old cheeses, and as thickly 
peopled. All up the hills that hem the city in, these houses 
swarm ; and the mites inside were lolling out of the windows, 
and drying their ragged clothes on poles, and crawling in and 
out at the doors, and coming out to pant and gasp upon the 



3H PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

pavement, and creeping in and out among huge piles and bales 
of fusty, musty, stifling goods ; and living, or rather not dying 
till their time should come, in an exhausted receiver. Every 
manufacturing town, melted into one, would hardly convey an 
impression of Lyons as it presented itself to me : for all the 
undrained, unscavengered qualities of a foreign town seemed 
grafted, there, upon the native miseries of a manufacturing one ; 
and it bears such fruit as I would go some miles out of my way 
to avoid encountering again. 

In the cool of the evening : or rather, in the faded heat of 
the day : we went to see the Cathedral, where divers old women, 
and a few dogs, were engaged in contemplation. There was no 
difference, in point of cleanliness, between its stone pavement 
and that of the streets ; and there was a wax saint, in a little 
box like a berth aboard ship, with a glass front to it, whom 
Madame Tussaud would have nothing to say to, on any terms, 
and which even Westminster Abbey might be ashamed of. If 
you would know all about the architecture of this church, or 
any other, its dates, dimensions, endowments, and history, is it 
not written in Mr. Murray's Guide-Book, and may you not read 
it there, with thanks to him, as I did ? 

For this reason, I should abstain from mentioning the curious 
clock in Lyons Cathedral, if it were not for a small mistake I 
made in connection with that piece of mechanism. The keeper 
of the church was very anxious it should be shown ; partly for 
the honour of the establishment and the town ; and partly, 
perhaps, because of his deriving a per-centage from the addi- 
tional consideration. However that may be, it was set in 
motion, and thereupon a host of little doors flew open, and 
innumerable little figures staggered out of them, and jerked 
themselves back again, with that special unsteadiness of purpose, 
and hitching in the gait, which usually attaches to figures that 
are moved by clockwork. Meanwhile, the Sacristan stood 
explaining these wonders, and pointing them out, severally, 
with a wand. There was a centre puppet of the Virgin Mary ; 



THE RHONE. 315 

and close to her, a small pigeon-hole, out of which another and 
a very ill-looking puppet made one of the most sudden plunges 
I ever saw accomplished ; instantly flopping back again at sight 
of her, and banging his little door violently after him. Taking 
this to be emblematic of the victory over Sin and Death, and 
not at all unwilling to show that I perfectly understood the 
subject, in anticipation of the showman, I rashly said, " Aha ! 
The Evil Spirit. To be sure. He is very soon disposed of." 
" Pardon, monsieur," said the Sacristan, with a polite motion of 
his hand towards the little door, as if introducing somebody — • 
"the Angel Gabriel!" 

Soon after daybreak next morning, we were steaming down 
the Arrowy Rhone, at the rate of twenty miles an hour, in a 
very dirty vessel full of merchandise, and with only three or 
four other passengers for our companions : among whom, the 
most remarkable was a silly, old, meek-faced, garlic-eating, 
immeasurably-polite Chevalier, with a dirty scrap of red ribbon 
hanging at his button-hole, as if he had tied it there to remind 
himself of something : as Tom Noddy, in the farce, ties knots 
in his pocket-handkerchief. 

For the last two days we had seen great sullen hills, the first 
indications of the Alps, lowering in the distance. Now, we 
were rushing on beside them : sometimes close beside them : 
sometimes with an intervening slope, covered with vineyards. 
Villages and small towns hanging in mid-air, with great woods 
of olives seen through the light open towers of their churches, 
and clouds moving slowly on, upon the steep acclivity behind 
them ; ruined castles perched on every eminence ; and scat- 
tered houses in the clefts and gullies of the hills ; made it very 
beautiful. The great height of these, too, making the buildings 
look so tiny, that they had all the charm of elegant' models ; 
their excessive whiteness, as contrasted with the brown rocks, 
or the sombre, deep, dull, heavy green of the olive-tree ; and 
the puny size and little slow walk of the Lilliputian men and 
women on the bank ; made a charming picture. There were 



3i6 pictures from Italy. 

ferries out of number, too ; bridges ; tbe famous Pont d'Esprit, 
with I don't know how many arches ; towns where memorable 
wines are made ; Vallenoe, where Napoleon studied ; and the 
noble river, bringing, at every winding turn, new beauties into 
view. 

There lay before us, that same afternoon, the broken bridge 
of Avignon, and all the city baking in the sun ; yet with an 
underdone-pie-crust, battlemented wall, that never will be 
brown, though it bake for centuries. 

The grapes were hanging in clusters in the streets, and the 
brilliant oleander was in full bloom everywhere.- The streets 
are old and very narrow, but tolerably clean, and shaded by 
awnings stretched from house to house. Bright stuffs and 
handkerchiefs, curiosities, ancient frames of carved wood, old 
chairs, ghostly tables, saints, virgins, angels, and staring daubs 
of portraits being exposed for sale beneath, it was very quaint 
and lively. All this was much set off, too, by the glimpses one 
caught, through a rusty gate standing ajar, of quiet sleepy 
courtyards, having stately old houses within, as silent as tombs. 
It was all very like one of the descriptions in the Arabian 
Nights. The three one-eyed Calenders might have knocked at 
any one of those doors till the street rang again, and the porter 
who persisted in asking questions — the man who had the 
delicious purchases put into his basket in the morning — might 
have opened it quite naturally. 

After breakfast next morning, we sallied forth to see the 
lions. Such a delicious breeze was blowing in, from the north, 
as made the walk delightful : though the pavement stones, and 
stones of the walls and houses, were far too hot to have a hand 
laid on them comfortably. 

We went, first of all, up a rocky height, to the Cathedral : 
where Mass was performing to an auditory very like that of 
Lyons, namely, several old women, a baby, and a very self- 
possessed dog, who had marked out for himself a little course 
or platform for exercise, beginning at the altar-rails and ending 



AVIGNON. 3 '7 

at the door, up and down which constitutional walk ho trotted, 
during the service, as methodically and calmly as any old 
gentleman out of doors. It is a bare old church, and the 
paintings in the roof are sadly defaced by time and damp 
weather ; but the sun was shining in splendidly through the 
red curtains of the windows, and glittering on the altar furni- 
ture ; and it looked as bright and cheerful as need be. 

Going apart, in this church, to see some painting which was 
being executed in fresco by a French artist and his pupil, I was 
led to observe, more closely than I might otherwise have done, 
a great number of votive offerings with which the walls of the 
different chapels were profusely hung. I will not say decorated, 
for they were very roughly and comically got up : most likely 
by poor sign-painters, who eke out their living in that way. 
They were all little pictures: each representing some sickness 
or calamity from which the person placing it there had escaped, 
through the interposition of his or her patron saint, or of the 
Madonna ; and I may refer to them as good specimens of the 
class generally. They are abundant in Italy. 

In a grotesque squareness of outline, and impossibility of 
perspective, they were not unlike the woodcuts in old books ; 
but they were oil-paintings, and the artist, like the painter of 
the Primrose family, had not been sparing of his colours. In 
one, a lady was having a toe amputated — an operation which a 
saintly personage had sailed into the room, upon a cloud, to 
superintend. In another, a lady was lying in bed, tucked up 
very tight and prim, and staring with much composure at a 
tripod, with a slop-basin on it : the usual form of washing- 
stand, and the only piece of furniture, besides the bedstead, in 
her chamber. One would never have supposed her to be 
labouring under any complaint, beyond the inconvenience of 
being miraculously wide awake, if the painter had not hit upon 
the idea of putting all her family on their knees in one corner, 
with' their legs sticking out behind them on the floor like boot- 
trees. Above whom, the Yirgin, on a kind of blue divan, 



3:8 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

promised to restore the patient. In another case, a lady was 
in the very act of being run over, immediately outside the city 
walls, by a sort of piano-forte van. But the Madonna was there 
again. Whether the supernatural appearance had startled the 
horse (a bay griffin), or whether it was invisible to him, I don't 
know ; but he was galloping away, ding-dong, without the 
smallest reverence or compunction. On every picture "Ex 
voto" was painted in yellow capitals in the sky. 

Though votive offerings were not unknown in Pagan Temples, 
and are evidently among the many compromises made between 
the false religion and the true, when the true was in its infancy, 
I could wish that all the other compromises were as harmless. 
Gratitude and Devotion are Christian qualities ; and a grateful, 
humble, Christian spirit may dictate the observance. 

Hard by the cathedral stands the ancient Palace of the 
Popes, of which one portion is now a common gaol, and another 
a noisy barrack : while gloomy suites of state apartments, shut 
up and deserted, mock their own old state and glory, like the 
embalmed bodies of kings. But we neither went there to see 
state-rooms, nor soldiers' quarters, nor a common gaol, though 
we dropped some money into a prisoners' box outside, whilst 
the prisoners, themselves, looked through the iron bars, high 
up, and watched us eagerly. We went to see the ruins of the 
dreadful rooms in which the Inquisition used to sit. 

A little,, old, swarthy woman, with a pair of flashing black 
eyes, — proof that the world hadn't conjured down the devil 
within her, though it had had between sixty and seventy years 
to do it in, — came out of the Barrack Cabaret, of which she 
was the keeper, with some large keys in her hands, and mar- 
shalled us the way that we should go. How she told us, on 
the way, that she was a Government Officer (concierge du palais 
apostolique), and had been for I don't know how many years ; 
and how she had shown these dungeons to princes ; and how 
sie was the best of dungeon demonstrators ; and how she had 
resided in the palace from an infant, — had been born there, if 



AVIGNON. 319 

I recollect right, — I needn't relate. But such a fierce, little, 
rapid, sparkling, energetic she-devil I never beheld. She was 
alight and flaming all the time. Her action was violent in the 
extreme. She never spoke without stopping expressly for the 
purpose. She stamped her feet, clutched us by the arms, flung 
herself into attitudes, hammered against walls with her keys, 
for mere emphasis : now whispered as if the Inquisition were 
there still : now shrieked as if she were on the rack herself ; 
and had a mysterious, hag-like way with her forefinger, when 
approaching the remains of some new horror — looking back 
and walking stealthily, and making horrible grimaces — that 
might alone have qualified her to walk up and down a sick 
man's counterpane, to the exclusion of all other figures, through 
a whole fever. 

Passing through the courtyard, among groups of idle soldiers, 
we turned off by a gate, which this She-Goblin unlocked for 
our admission, and locked again behind us : and entered a 
narrow court, rendered narrower by fallen stones and heaps of 
rubbish ; part of it choking up the mouth of a ruined subter- 
ranean passage, that once communicated (or is said to have 
done so) with another castle on the opposite bank of the river. 
Close to this courtyard is a dungeon — we stood within it, in 
another minute — in the dismal tower des oubliettes, where Rienzi 
was imprisoned, fastened by an iron chain to the very wall that 
stands there now, but shut out from the sky which now looks 
down into it. A few steps brought us to the Cachots, in which 
the prisoners of the Inquisition were confined for forty-eight 
hours after their capture, without food or drink, that their 
constancy might be shaken, even before they were confronted 
with their gloomy judges. The day has not got in there yet, 
they are still small cells, shut in by four unyielding, close, hard 
walls ; still profoundly dark ; still massively doored and fastened, 
as of old. 

Goblin, looking back as I have described, went softly on, 
into a vaulted chamber, now used as a store-room : once the 



320 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

ciiapel of the Holy Office. The place where the tribunal sat 
was plain. The platform might have been removed but yester- 
day. Conceive the parable of the Good Samaritan having been 
painted on the wall of one of these Inquisition chambers ! But 
it was, and may be traced there yet. 

High up in the jealous wall are niches where the faltering 
replies of the accused were heard and noted down. Many of 
them had been brought out of the very cell we had just looked 
into, so awfully : along the same stone passage. We had 
trodden in their very footsteps. 

I am gazing round me, with the horror that the place inspires, 
when Goblin clutches me by the wrist, and lays, not her skinny 
finger, but the handle of a key, upon her lip. She invites me, 
with a jerk, to follow her. I do so. She leads me out into a 
room adjoining — a rugged room, with a funnel-shaped, con- 
tracting roof, open at the top to the bright day. I ask her 
what it is. She folds her arms, leers hideously, and stares. I 
ask again. She glances round, to see that all the little com- 
pany are there ; sits down upon a mound of stones ; throws up 
her arms, and yells out, like a fiend, "La Salle de la Question !" 

The Chamber of Torture ! And the roof was made of that 
shape to stifle the victim's cries ! Oh, Goblin, Goblin, let us 
think of this awhile in silence. Peace, Goblin ! Sit with your 
short arms crossed on your short legs, upon that heap of stones, 
for only five minutes, and then flame out again. 

Minutes ! Seconds are not marked upon the Palace clock, 
when, with her eyes flashing fire, Goblin is up, in the middle of 
the chamber, describing, with her sunburnt arms, a wheel of 
heavy blows. Thus it ran round ! cries Goblin. Mash, mash, 
mash ! An endless routine of heavy hammers. Mash, mash, 
mash ! upon the sufferer's limbs. See the stone trough ! says 
Goblin. For the water torture ! Gurgle, swill, bloat, burst, for 
the Eedeemer's honour ! Suck the bloody rag, deep down into 
your unbelieving body, Heretic, at every breath you draw. 
And • when the executioner plucks jt out, reeking with th§ 



AVIGNOtf. 321 

smaller mysteries of God's owu Image, know us for His chosen 
servants, true believers in the Sermon on the Mount, elect dis- 
ciples of Him who never did a miracle but to heal : who never 
struck a man with palsy, blindness, deafness, dumbness, mad- 
ness, any one affliction of mankind ; and never stretched His 
blessed hand out, but to give relief and ease ! 

See ! cries Goblin. There the furnace was. There they 
made the irons red-hot. Those holes supported the sharp 
stake, on which the tortured persons hung poised : dangling 
with their whole weight from the roof. " But " — and Goblin 
whispers this — " Monsieur has heard of this tower ? Yes ? 
Let Monsieur look down then ! " 

A cold air, laden with an earthy smell, falls upon the face of 
Monsieur ; for she has opened, while speaking, a trap-door in 
the wall. Monsieur looks in. Downward to the bottom, upward 
to the top, of a steep, dark, lofty tower : very dismal, very 
dark, very cold. The Executioner of the Inquisition, says 
Goblin, edging in her head to look down also, flung those who 
were past all further torturing down here. " But look ! does 
Monsieur see the black stains on the wall ? " A glance, over 
his shoulder, at Goblin's keen eye, shows Monsieur — and would 
without the aid of the directing key — where they are. " What 
are they ? " " Blood ! " 

In October, 1791, when the Kevolution was at its height 
here, sixty persons : men and women (" and priests," says 
Goblin, " priests ") : were murdered, and hurled, the dying and 
the dead, into this dreadful pit, where a quantity of quicklime 
was tumbled down upon their bodies. Those ghastly tokens of 
the massacre were soon no more ; but while one stone of the 
strong building in which the deed was done remains upon 
another, there they will lie in the memories of men, as plain to 
see as the splashing of their blood upon the wall is now. 

Was it a portion of the great scheme of Retribution that the 
cruel deed should be committed in this place ? That a part of 
the atrocities and monstrous institutions, which had been, for 

X 



$11 PICTURES rROM ITALY. 

scores of years, at work, to change men's nature, should, in its 
last service, tempt them with the ready means of gratifying 
their furious and beastly rage ? Should enable them to show 
themselves, in the height of their frenzy, no worse than- a great, 
solemn, legal establishment in the height of its power ? No 
worse ! Much better. They used the Tower of the- Forgotten 
in the name of Liberty — their liberty ; an earth-born creature, 
nursed in the black mud of the Bastille moats and dungeons, 
and necessarily betraying many evidences of its unwholesome 
bringing-up — but the Inquisition used it in the name of Heaven. 

Goblin's finger is lifted ; and she steals out again into the 
Chapel of the Holy Office. She stops at a certain part of the 
floorings Her great effect is at hand. She waits for the rest. 
She darts at the Brave Courier, who is explaining something ; 
hits him a sounding rap on the hat with the largest key : and 
bids him be silent. She assembles us all round a little trap- 
door in the floor, as round a grave. " Voila ! " she darts down 
at the ring, and flings the door open with a crash, in her goblin 
energy, though it is no light weight. " Voila les oubliettes ! 
Voila les.oubliettes ! Subterranean! Frightful! Black! Terrible! 
Deadly ! Les oubliettes de l'lnquisition ! " 

My blood ran cold as I looked from Goblin, down into the 
vaults, where these forgotten creatures, with recollections of the 
world outside : of wives, friends, children, brothers : starved to 
death, and made the stones ring with their unavailing groans. 
But, the thrill I felt on seeing the accursed wall below, decayed 
and broken through, and the sun shining in through its gaping 
wounds, was like a sense of victory and triumph. I felt exalted 
with the proud delight of living, in these degenerate times, to see 
it. As if I were the hero of some high achievement ! The light 
in the doleful vaults was typical of the light that has streamed 
in on all persecution in God's name, but which is not yet at 
its noon ! It cannot look more lovely to a blind man newly 
restored to sight, than to a traveller who sees it, calmly and 
majestically, treading down the darkness of that Infernal Well. 



AVIGNON TO GENOA. 

Ci OBLIN, having shown fe oubliettes, felt that her great coup 
^ was struck. She let the door fall with a crash, and stood 
upon it with her arms a-kimbo, sniffing prodigiously. 

When we left the place, I accompanied her into her house, 
under the outer gateway of the fortress, to buy a little history 
of the building. Her cabaret, a dark low room, lighted by 
small windows, sunk in the thick wall — in the softened light, 
and with its forge-like chimney ; its little counter by the door, 
with bottles, jars, and glasses on it ; its household implements 
and scraps of dress against the wall ; and a sober-looking 
woman (she must have a congenial life of it with Goblin) 
knitting at the door—looked exactly like a picture by Ostade. 

I walked round the building on the outside, in a sort of 
dream, and yet with the delightful sense of having awakened 
from it, of which the light, down in the vaults, had given me 
the assurance. The immense thickness and giddy height of the 
walls, the enormous strength of the massive towers, the great 
extent of the building, its gigantic proportions, frowning aspect, 
and barbarous irregularity, awaken awe and wonder. The recol- 
lection of its opposite old uses : an impregnable fortress, a 
luxurious palace, a horrible prison, a place of torture, the court 
of the Inquisition : at one and the same time, a house of feast- 
ing, fighting, religion, and blood : gives to every stone in its 
huge form a fearful interest, and imparts new meaning to its 
incongruities.. I could think of little, however, then, or long 
afterwards, but the sun in the dungeons. The palace coming 
down to be the lounging -place of noisy soldiers, and being 
forced to echo their rough talk and common oaths, and to have 

12 



324 Pictures from italy. 

their garments fluttering from its dirty windows, was some 
reduction of its state, and something to rejoice at ; but the 
day in its cells, and the sky for the roof of its chambers of 
cruelty — that was its desolation and defeat ! If I had seen it 
in a blaze from ditch to rampart, I should have felt that not 
that light, nor all the light in all the fire that burns, could 
waste it, like the sunbeams in its secret council-chamber, and 
its prisons. 

Before I quit this Palace of the Popes, let me translate from 
the little history I mentioned just now a short anecdote, quite 
appropriate to itself, connected with its adventures. 

"An ancient tradition relates, that in 1441, a nephew of 
Pierre de Lude, the Pope's legate, seriously insulted some dis- 
tinguished ladies of Avignon, whose relations, in revenge, seized 
the young man and horribly mutilated him. For several years 
the legate kept his revenge within his own breast, but he was 
not the less resolved upon its gratification at last. He even 
made, in the fulness of time, advances towards a complete 
reconciliation ; and when their apparent sincerity had prevailed, 
he invited to a splendid banquet, in this palace, certain families, 
whole families, whom he sought to exterminate. The utmost 
gaiety animated the repast ; but the measures of the legate 
were well taken. When the dessert was on the board, a Swiss 
presented himself, with the announcement that a strange ambas- 
sador solicited an extraordinary audience. The legate, excusing 
himself, for the moment, to his guests, retired, followed by his 
officers. Within a few moments afterwards, five hundred per- 
sons were reduced to ashes : the whole of that wing of the build- 
ing having been blown into the air with a terrible explosion !" 

After seeing the churches (I will not trouble you with 
churches just now), we left Avignon that afternoon. The heat 
being very great, the roads outside the walls were strewn with 
people fast asleep in every little slip of shade, and with 
lazy groups, half asleep and half awake, who were waiting until 
the sun should be low enough to admit of their playing bowls. 



MARSEILLES. 325 

among the burnt-up trees, arid on the dusty road. The harvest 
here was already gathered in, and mules and horses were tread- 
ing out the corn in the fields. We came, at dusk, upon a wild 
and hilly country, once famous for brigands : and travelled 
slowly up a steep ascent. So we went on until eleven at night, 
when we halted at the town of Aix (within two stages of 
Marseilles) to sleep. 

The hotel, with all the blinds and shutters closed to keep the 
light and heat out, was comfortable and airy next morning, and 
the town was very clean ; but so hot, and so intensely light, 
that when I walked out at noon it was like coming suddenly 
from the darkened room into crisp blue fire. The air was so 
very clear, that distant hills and rocky points appeared within 
an hour's walk : while the town immediately at hand — with a 
kind of blue wind between me and it — seemed to be white-hot, 
and to be throwing off a fiery air from its surface. 

We left this town towards evening, and took the road to 
Marseilles. A dusty road it was ; the houses shut up close ; 
and the. vines powdered white. At nearly all the cottage doors, 
women were peeling and slicing onions into earthen bowls for 
supper. So they had been doing last night all the way from 
Avignon. We passed one or two shady dark chateaux, sur- 
rounded by trees, and embellished with cool basins of water : 
which were the more refreshing to behold, from the great 
scarcity of such residences on the road we had travelled. As 
we approached Marseilles, the road began to be covered with 
holiday people. Outside the public-houses were parties smok- 
ing, drinking, playing draughts and cards, and (once) dancing. 
But dust, dust, dust everywhere. We went on, through a long, 
straggling, dirty suburb, thronged with people ; having on our 
left a dreary slope of land, on which the country houses of the 
Marseilles merchants, always staring white, are jumbled and 
heaped without the slightest order : backs, fronts, sides, and 
gables towards all points of the compass ; until, at last, we 
entered the town, 



326 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

I was there twice or thrice afterwards, in fair weather and 
foul ; and I am afraid there is no doubt that it is a dirty and 
disagreeable place. But the prospect, from the fortified heights, 
of the beautiful Mediterranean, with its lovely rocks and islands, 
is most delightful. These heights are a desirable retreat, for 
less picturesque reasons — as an escape from a compound of vile 
smells perpetually arising from a great harbour full of stagnant 
water, and befouled by the refuse of innumerable ships with all 
sorts of cargoes : which, in hot weather, is dreadful in the last 
degree. 

There were foreign sailors, of all nations, in the streets ; with 
red shirts, blue shirts, buff shirts, tawny shirts, and shirts of 
orange colour ; with red caps, blue caps, green caps, great beards, 
and no beards ; in Turkish turbans, glazed English hats, and 
Neapolitan head-dresses. There were the townspeople sitting in 
clusters on the pavement, or airing themselves on the tops of 
their houses, or walking up and down the closest and least airy 
of Boulevards ; and there were crowds of fierce-looking people of 
the lower sort, blocking up the way, constantly. In the very 
heart of all this stir and uproar was the common madhouse ; a 
low, contracted, miserable building, looking straight upon the 
street, without the smallest screen or courtyard ; where chattering 
madmen and madwomen were peeping out, through rusty bars, 
at the staring faces below, while the sun, darting fiercely aslant 
into their little cells, seemed to dry up their brains, and worry 
them, as if they were baited by a pack of dogs. . 

"We were pretty well accommodated at the H6tel du Paradis, 
situated in a narrow street of very high houses, with a hair- 
dresser's shop opposite, exhibiting in one of its windows two 
full-length waxen ladies, twirling round and round : which so 
enchanted the hairdresser himself, that he and his family sat in 
arm-chairs, and in cool undresses, on the pavement outside, 
enjoying the gratification of the passers-by, with lazy dignity. 
The family had retired to rest when Ave went to bed at mid- 
night ; but the hairdresser (a corpulent man, in drab slippers) 



GENOA. 327 

was still sitting there, with his legs -stretched out before him, 
and evidently couldn't bear to have the shutters put up. 

Next day we went down to the harbour, where the sailors of 
all nations were discharging and taking in cargoes of all kinds : 
fruits, wines, oils, silks, stuffs, velvets, and every manner of 
merchandise. Taking one of the great number of lively little 
boats with gay-striped awnings, we rowed away, under the 
sterns of great ships, under tow-ropes and cables, against and 
among other boats, and very much too near the sides of vessels 
that were faint with oranges, to the Marie Antoinette, a hand- 
some steamer bound for Genoa, lying near the mouth of the 
harbour. By-and-by, the carriage, that unwieldy " trifle from 
the Pantechnicon," on a flat barge, bumping against everything, 
and, giving occasion for a prodigious quantity of oaths and 
grimaces, came stupidly alongside ; and by five o'clock we were 
steaming out in the open sea. The vessel was beautifully clean ; 
the meals were served under an awning on deck; the night 
was calm and clear ; the quiet beauty of the sea and sky 
unspeakable. 

We were off Nice early next morning, and coasted along, 
within a few miles of the Cornice Road (of which more in its 
place), nearly all day. We could see Genoa before three ; and 
watching it as it gradually developed its splendid amphitheatre, 
terrace rising above terrace, garden above garden, palace above 
palace, height upon height, was ample occupation for us, till we 
ran into the stately harbour. Having been duly astonished 
here by the sight of a few Cappuccini monks, who were watching 
the fair-weighing of some wood upon the wharf, we drove off to 
Albaro, two miles distant, where we had engaged a house. 

The way lay through the main streets, but not through the 
Strada Nuova, or the Strada Balbi, which are the famous streets 
of palaces. I never, in my life, was so dismayed ! The won- 
derful novelty of everything, the unusual smells, the unaccount- 
able filth (though it is reckoned the cleanest of Italian towns), 
the disorderly jumbling of dirty houses, one upon the roof of 



3^8 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

another ; the passages more squalid and more close than any in 
St. Giles's or old Paris ; in and out of which, not vagabonds, 
but well-dressed women, with white veils and great fans, were 
passing and repassing ; the perfect absence of resemblance in 
any dwelling-house, or shop, or wall, or post, or pillar, to any- 
thing one had ever seen before ; and the disheartening dirt, 
discomfort, and decay ; perfectly confounded me. I fell into a 
dismal reverie. I am conscious of a feverish and bewildered 
vision of saints' and virgins' shrines at the street corners — of 
great numbers of friars, monks, and soldiers — of vast red cur- 
tains, waving in the doorways of the churches — of always going 
uphill, and yet seeing every other street and passage going 
higher up — of fruit-stalls, with fresh lemons and oranges 
hanging in garlands made of vine-leaves — of a guard-house, 
and a drawbridge — and some gateways — and vendors of iced 
water, sitting with little trays upon the margin of the kennel — 
and this is all the consciousness I had, until I was set down in 
a rank, dull, weedy courtyard, attached to a kind of pink gaol ; 
and was told I lived there. 

I little thought, that day, that I should ever come to have 
an attachment for the very stones in the streets of Genoa, and 
to look back upon the city with affection as connected with 
many hours of happiness and quiet ! But these are my first 
impressions honestly set down ; and how they changed I will 
set down too. At present, let us breathe after this long-winded 
journey. 



GENOA AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 

rFHE first impressions of such a place as Albaro, the suburb 
of Genoa where I am now, as my American friends would 
say, "located," can hardly fail, I should imagine, to be mournful 
and disappointing. It requires a little time and use to over- 
come the feeling of depression consequent, at first, on so much 
ruin and neglect. Novelty, pleasant to most people, is particu- 
larly delightful, I think, to me. I am not easily dispirited when 
I have the means of pursuing my own fancies and occupations ; 
and I believe I have some natural aptitude for accommodating 
myself to circumstances. But, as yet, I stroll about here, in all 
the holes and corners of the neighbourhood, in a perpetual 
state of forlorn surprise ; and returning to my villa ; the Villa 
Bagnerello ; (it sounds romantic, but Signor Bagnerello is a 
butcher hard by), have sufficient occupation in pondering over 
my new experiences, and comparing them, very much to my 
own amusement, with my expectations, until I wander out 
again. 

The Villa Bagnerello : or the Pink Gaol, a far more expressive 
name for the mansion : is in one of the most splendid situations 
imaginable. The noble bay of Genoa, with the deep blue 
Mediterranean, lie stretched out near at hand ; monstrous old 
desolate houses and palaces are dotted all about ; lofty hills, 
with their tops often hidden in the clouds, and with strong forts 
perched high up on their craggy sides, are close upon the left ; 
and in front, stretching from the walls of the house, down to a 
ruined chapel which stands upon the bold and picturesque rocks 
on the seashore, are green vineyards, where you may wander all 



33° PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

day long in partial shade, through interminable vistas ol grapes, 
trained on a rough trellis-work across the narrow paths. 

This sequestered spot is approached by lanes so very narrow, 
that when we arrived at the Custom House, we found the people 
here had taken the measure of the narrowest among them, and 
were waiting to apply it to the carriage ; which ceremony was 
gravely performed in the street, while we all stood by, in 
breathless suspense. It was found to be a very tight fit, but 
just a. possibility, and no more — as I am reminded every day, 
by the sight of various large holes which it punched in the walls 
on either side as it came along. We are more fortunate, I am 
told, than an old lady who took a house in these parts not long 
ago, and who stuck fast in her carriage in. a lane ; and as it was 
impossible to open one of the doors, she was obliged to submit 
to the indignity of being hauled through* one of the little, front 
windows like a harlequin. 

When you have got through these narrow lanes, you come to 
an archway, imperfectly stopped up. by a rusty old gate — my 
gate. The rusty old gate has a bell to correspond, which yon 
ring as long as you like, and which nobody answers, as it has 
no connection whatever with the house. But there is a rusty 
old knocker, too- — very loose, so that it slides round when you 
touch . it— and if you learn \ the trick, of it, and knock long 
enough, somebody comes. The Brave Courier comes, and gives 
you admittance. You walk into a seedy little garden, all wild 
and weedy, from which the vineyard opens ; cross it, enter a 
square hall like a cellar, walk up a cracked marble staircase, and 
pass into a most enormous room with a. vaulted roof and white- 
washed walls : not unlike a great Methodist chapel. This is the 
sola. It has five windows and five .doors, and is decorated with 
pictures which would gladden: the heart of one of those pictures- 
cleaners' in London who hang up, as a sign, a picture divided, 
like death and the lady at the top of the old ballad : which 
always leaves you in a state of uncertainty whether the inge- 
nious professor has cleaned one half or dirtied the other. The 



GENOA. 331 

furniture of this sola is a sort of red brocade. All the chairs 
are immovable, and the sofa weighs several tons. 

On the same floor, and opening out of this same chamber, are 
dining-room, drawing-room, and divers bedrooms : each with a 
multiplicity of doors and windows. Up-stairs are divers other 
gaunt chambers, and a kitchen; and down-stairs is another 
kitchen, which, with all sorts of strange contrivances for burn- 
ing charcoal, looks like an alchemical laboratory. There are 
also some half-dozen small sitting-rooms, where the servants, in 
this hot July, may escape from the heat of the fire, and where 
the Brave Courier plays all sorts of musical instruments of his 
own manufacture, all the evening long. A mighty old, wan- 
dering, ghostly, echoing, grim, bare house it is, as ever I beheld 
or thought of. 

There is a little vine-covered terrace, opening from the 
drawing-room ; and under this terrace, and forming one side 
of. the. little- garden, is what used to be the stable. It is now a 
cow-house-,- and has three cows in it, so that we get new milk by 
the bucketful. There- is no pasturage near, and they never go 
out, but are constantly lying down, and surfeiting themselves 
with vine-leaves— perfect Italian cows — enjoying the dolce far 
niente all day long. They are presided over, and slept with, by 
an old man named Antonio, and his son ; two burnt-sienna 
natives with naked legs and feet, who wear, each, a shirt, a pair 
of trousers, and a red sash, with a relic, or some sacred charm 
like a bonbon off a twelfth-cake, hanging round the neck. The 
old man is very anxious to convert me to the Catholic Faith ; 
and exhorts me frequently. We sit upon a stone by the door 
sometimes, in the evening, like Kobinson Crusoe and Friday 
reversed ; and he generally relates, towards my conversion, an 
abridgment of the History of St. Peter — chiefly, I believe, from 
the unspeakable delight he has in his imitation of the cock. 

The view, as I have said, is charming ; but in the day you 
must keep the lattice blinds close shut, or the sun would drive 
you mad ; and when the sun goes down, you must shut up all 



332 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

the windows, or the mosquitoes would tempt you to commit 
suicide. So, at this time of the year, you don't see much of the 
prospect within doors. As for the flies, you don't mind them. 
Nor the fleas, whose size is prodigious, and whose name is 
Legion, and who populate the coach-house to that extent that I 
daily expect to see the carriage going off bodily, drawn by 
myriads of industrious fleas in harness. The rats are kept 
away, quite comfortably, by scores of lean cats, who roam about 
the garden for that purpose. The lizards, of course, nobody 
cares for ; they play in the sun, and don't bite. The little 
scorpions are merely curious. The beetles are rather late, and 
have not appeared yet. The frogs are company. There is a 
preserve of them in the grounds of the next villa ; and, after 
nightfall, one would think that scores upon scores of women in 
pattens were going up and down a wet stone pavement without 
a moment's cessation. That is exactly the noise they make. 

The ruined chapel, on the picturesque and beautiful seashore, 
was dedicated, once upon a time, to St. John the Baptist. I 
believe there is a legend that St. John's bones were received 
there, with various solemnities, when they were first brought to 
Genoa ; for Genoa possesses them to this day. When there is 
any uncommon tempest at sea, they are brought out and 
exhibited to the raging weather, which they never fail to calm. 
In consequence of this connection of St. John with the city, 
great numbers of the common people are christened Giovanni 
Baptista, which latter name is pronounced in the Genoese patois 
" Batcheetcha," like a sneeze. To hear everybody calling every- 
body else Batcheetcha, on a Sunday, or Festa-day, when there 
are crowds in the streets, is not a little singular and amusing to 
a stranger. 

The narrow lanes have great villas opening into them, whose 
walls (outside walls, I mean) are profusely painted with all sorts 
of subjects, grim and holy. But time and the sea air have 
nearly obliterated them ; and they look like the entrance to 
Vauxhall Gardens on a sunny day. The courtyards of these 



&ENOA. 333 

houses are overgrown with grass and weeds ; all sorts of hideous 
patches cover the bases of the statues, as if they were afflicted 
with a cutaneous disorder ; the outer gates are rusty ; and the 
iron bars outside the lower windows are all tumbling down. 
Fire-wood is kept in halls where costly treasures might be 
heaped up, mountains high ; waterfalls are dry and choked ; 
fountains too dull to play, and too lazy to work, have just 
enough recollection of their identity, in their sleep, to make the 
neighbourhood damp ; and the sirocco wind is often blowing 
over all these things for days together, like a gigantic oven out 
for a holiday. 

Not long ago, there was a festa-day in honour of the Virgin's 
mother, when the young men of the neighbourhood, having worni 
green wreaths of the vine in some procession or other, bathed 
in them by scores. It looked very odd and pretty. Though I 
am bound to confess (not knowing of the festa at that time), 
that I thought, and was quite satisfied, they wore them as horses 
do — to keep the flies off. 

Soon afterwards, there was another festa-day, in honour of a 
St. Nazaro. One of the Albaro young men brought two large 
bouquets soon after breakfast, and coming up-stairs into the 
great sola, presented them himself. This was a polite way of 
begging for a contribution towards the expenses of some music 
in the Saint's honour, so we gave him whatever it may have 
been, and his messenger departed : well satisfied. At six o'clock 
in the evening we went to the church — close at hand — a very 
gaudy place, hung all over with festoons and bright draperies, 
and filled, from the altar to the main door, with women, all 
seated. They wear no bonnets here, simply a long white veil — 
the "mezzero;" and it was the most gauzy, ethereal-looking 
audience I ever saw. The young women are not generally 
pretty, but they walk remarkably well, and, in their personal 
carriage and the management of their veils, display much innate 
grace and elegance. There were some men present : not very 
many : and a few of these were kneeling about the aisles, while 



334 PICTURES FR01X ITALY. 

everybody else tumbled over them. Innumerable tapers were 
burning in the church ; the bits of silver and tin about the 
saints (especially in the Virgin's necklace) sparkled brilliantly; 
the priests were seated about the chief altar ; the organ played 
away lustily, and a full band did the like ; while a conductor, 
in a little gallery opposite to the band, hammered away on the 
desk before him with a scroll ; and a tenor, without any voice, 
sang. The band played one way, the organ played another, the 
singer went a third, and the unfortunate conductor banged and" 
banged, and flourished his scroll on some principle of his own : 
apparently well satisfied with the whole performance. I never 
did hear such a discordant din. The heat Avas intense all the time. 
The men, in red caps, and with loose coats hanging on their 
shoulders (they never put them on), were playing bowls, and 
buying sweetmeats, immediately outside the church. When 
half-a-dozen of them finished a game, they came into the aisle, 
crossed themselves with the holy water, knelt on one knee for 
an instant, and walked off again to- play another game at bowls. 
They are remarkably expert at this diversion, and will play in 
the stony lanes and streets, and on the most uneven and disas- 
trous ground for such a purpose, with as much nicety as on a 
billiard-table. But the most favourite game is the national one 
of Mora, which they pursue with surprising ardour, and at which 
they will stake everything they possess. It is a destructive 
kind of gambling, requiring no accessories but the ten fingers, 
which are always — I intend no pun — at hand. Two men play 
together; One calls a number — say the extreme one, ten. He. 
marks what portion of it he pleases by throwing out three, or 
four, or five fingers ; and his adversary has, in the same instant, 
at hazard, and without seeing his hand, to throw out as many 
fingers as will make the exact balance. Their eyes and hands 
become so used to this, and act with such astonishing rapidity, 
that an uninitiated bystander would find it very difficult, if not 
impossible, to follow the progress of the game. The initiated, 
however, of whom there is always an eager group looking on; 



GEisroA. 335 

devour it with the most intense avidity ; and as they are always 
ready to champion one side or the other in case of a dispute, 
and are frequently divided in their partisanship, it is often a 
very noisy proceeding. It is never the quietest game in the 
world ; for the numbers are always called in a loud sharp voice, 
and follow as close upon each other as they can be counted. 
On a holiday evening, standing at a window, or walking in a 
garden, or passing through the streets, or sauntering in any 
quiet place about the town, you will hear this game in progress 
in a score of wine-shops at once ; and looking over any vineyard 
walk, or turning almost any corner, will come upon a knot of 
players in full cry. It is observable that most men have a 
propensity to throw out some particular number oftener than 
another ; and the vigilance with which two sharp-eyed players 
will mutually endeavour to detect this weakness, and adapt 
their game to it, is very curious and entertaining. The effect 
is greatly heightened by the universal suddenness and vehe- 
mence of gesture ; two men playing for half a farthing with an 
intensity as all-absorbing as if the stake were life. 

Hard by here is a large Palazzo, formerly belonging to some 
member of the Brignole family, but just now hired by a school 
of Jesuits for their summer quarters. I walked into its dis- 
mantled precincts the other evening about sunset, and couldn't 
help pacing up and down for a little time, drowsily taking in 
the aspect of the place : which is repeated hereabouts in all 
directions. 

I loitered to and fro under a colonnade, forming two sides of 
a weedy, grass-grown courtyard, whereof the house formed a 
third side, and a low terrace walk, overlooking the garden and 
the neighbouring hills, the fourth; I don't believe there was 
an uncracked stone in the whole pavement. In the centre was 
a melancholy statue, so piebald in its decay, that it looked 
exactly as if it had been covered with sticking-plaster, and after- 
wards powdered. The stables, coach-houses, offices, were all 
empty, all ruinous, all utterly deserted. 



33& PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

Doors had lost their hinges, and were holding on by their 
latches ; windows were broken, painted plaster had peeled off, 
and was lying about in clods ; fowls and cats had so taken pos- 
session of the out-buildings, that I couldn't help thinking of 
the fairy tales, and eyeing them with suspicion, as transformed 
retainers waiting to be changed back again. One old Tom in 
particular : a scraggy brute, with a hungry green eye (a poor 
relation, in reality, I am inclined to think) : came prowling 
round and round me, as if he half believed, for the moment, 
that I might be the hero come to marry the lady, and set all to 
rights ; but discovering his mistake, he suddenly gave a grim 
snarl, and walked away with such a tremendous tail, that he 
couldn't get into the little hole where he lived, but was obliged 
to wait outside, until his indignation and his tail had gone 
down together. 

In a sort of summer-house, or whatever it may be, in this 
colonnade, some Englishmen had been living, like grubs in a 
nut ; but the Jesuits had given them notice to go, and they 
had gone, and that was shut up too. The house : a wandering, 
echoing, thundering barrack of a place, with the lower windows 
barred up, as usual : was wide open at the door ; and I have no 
doubt I might have gone in, and gone to bed, and gone dead, 
and nobody a bit the wiser. Only one suite of rooms on an 
upper floor was tenanted ; and from one of these, the voice of a 
young-lady vocalist, practising bravura lustily, came flaunting 
out upon the silent evening. 

I went down into the garden, intended to be prim and quaint, 
with avenues, and terraces, and orange-trees, and statues, and 
water in stone basins ; and everything was green, gaunt, weedy, 
straggling, undergrown, or overgrown, mildewy, damp, redolent 
of all sorts of slabby, clammy, creeping, and uncomfortable life. 
There was nothing bright in the whole scene but a fire-fly — one 
solitary fire-fly — showing against the dark bushes like the last 
little speck of the departed Glory of the house ; and even it 
went flitting up and down at sudden angles, and leaving a place 



GENOA. 337 

with a jerk, and describing an irregular circle, and returning to 
the same place with a twitch that startled one : as if it were 
looking for the rest of the Glory, and wondering (Heaven knows 
it might !) what had become of it. 

In the course of two months, the flitting shapes and shadows 
of my dismal entering reverie gradually resolved themselves into 
familiar forms and substances ; and I already began to think 
that when the time should come, a year hence, for closing the 
long holiday and turning back to England, I might part from 
Genoa with anything but a glad heart. 

It is a place that " grows upon you " every day. There 
seems to be always something to find out in it. There" are the 
most extraordinary alleys and by-ways to walk about in. You 
can lose your way (what a comfort that is, when you are idle !) 
twenty times a day, if you like ; and turn up again, under the 
most unexpected and surprising difficulties. It abounds in the 
strangest contrasts ; things that are picturesque, ugly, mean, 
magnificent, delightful, and offensive, break upon the view at 
every turn. 

They who would know how beautiful the country imme- 
diately surrounding Genoa is, should climb (in clear weather) to 
the top of Monte Faccio, or, at least, ride round the city walls : 
a feat more easily performed. No prospect can be more diver- 
sified and lovely than the changing views of the harbour, and 
the valleys of the two rivers, the Polcevera and the Bizagno, 
from the heights along which the strongly fortified walls are 
carried, like the great wall of China in little. In not the least 
picturesque part of this ride, there is a fair specimen of a real 
Genoese tavern, where the visitor may derive good entertain- 
ment from real Genoese dishes, such as Tagliarini ; Eavioli ; 
German sausages, strong of garlic, sliced and eaten with fresh green 
figs ; cocks' combs and sheep-kidneys, chopped up with mutton 
chops and liver ; small pieces of some unknown part of a calf, 
twisted into small shreds, fried, and served up in a great dish 

z 



338 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

like whitebait ; and other curiosities of that kind. They often 
get wine at these suburban Trattorie, from France and Spain 
and Portugal, which is brought over by small captains in little 
trading vessels. They buy it at so much a bottle, without ask- 
ing what it is, or caring to remember if anybody tells them, and 
usually divide it into two heaps ; of which they label one 
Champagne, and the other Madeira. The various opposite 
flavours, qualities, countries, ages, and vintages that are com- 
prised under these two general heads are quite extraordinary. 
The most limited range is probably from cool Gruel up to old 
Marsala, and down again to apple Tea. 

The great majority of the streets are as narrow as any 
thoroughfare can well be, where people (even Italian people) 
are supposed to live and walk about ; being mere lanes, with 
here and there a kind of well, or breathing-place. The houses 
are immensely high, painted in all sorts of colours, and are in 
every stage and state of damage, dirt, and lack of repair. They 
are commonly let off in floors, or flats, like the houses in the 
old town of Edinburgh, or many houses i in Paris. There are 
few street-doors ; the entrance-halls are, for the most part, 
looked upon as public property ; and any moderately enter- 
prising scavenger might make a fine fortune by now and then 
clearing them out. As it is impossible for, coaches to penetrate 
into these streets, there are sedan-chairs, gilded and otherwise, 
for hire in divers places. A great many private chairs are also 
kept among the nobility and gentry ; and at night these are 
trotted to and fro in all directions, preceded by bearers of great 
lanterns, made of linen stretched upon a frame. The sedans 
and lanterns are the legitimate successors of the long strings, of 
patient and much-abused mules, that go jingling their little 
bells through these confined streets all day long. They follow 
them as regularly as the stars the sun. 

When shall I forget the Streets of Palaces : the Strada Nuova 
and the Strada Balbi ? or how the former, looked one summer 
day, when I first saw it underneath the brightest, and most 



GENOA. 339 

intensely blue of summer skies : which its narrow perspective 
of immense mansions reduced to a tapering and most precious 
strip of brightness, looking down upon the heavy shade below ? 
A brightness not too common, even in July and August, to be 
well esteemed : for, if the Truth must out, there were not eight 
blue skies in as many midsummer weeks, saving, sometimes, 
early in the morning ; when, looking out to sea, the water and 
the firmament were one world of deep and brilliant blue. At 
other times there were clouds and haze enough to make an 
Englishman grumble in his own climate. 

The endless details of these rich Palaces : the walls of some 
of them, within, alive with masterpieces by Vandyke ! The 
great, heavy, stone balconies, one above another, and tier over 
tier : with here and there one larger than the rest, towering 
high up — a huge marble platform ; the doorless vestibules, 
massively barred lower windows, immense public staircases, 
thick marble pillars, strong dungeon-like arches, and dreary, 
dreaming, echoing vaulted chambers : among which the eye 
wanders again, and again, and again, as every palace is suc- 
ceeded by another — the terrace gardens between house and 
house, with green arches of the vine, and groves of orange-trees, 
and blushing oleander in full bloom, twenty, thirty, forty feet 
above the street — the painted halls, mouldering, and blotting, 
and rotting in the damp corners, and still shining out in beauti- 
ful colours and voluptuous designs, where the walls are dry — 
the faded figures on the outsides of the houses, holding wreaths, 
and crowns, and flying upward and downward, and standing in 
niches, and here and there looking fainter and more feeble than 
elsewhere, by contrast with some fresh little Cupids, who, on a 
more recently decorated portion of the front, are stretching out 
what seems to be the semblance of a blanket, but is, indeed, a 
sun-dial — the steep, steep, uphill streets of small palaces (but 
very large palaces for all that), with marble terraces looking 
down into close by-ways — the magnificent and innumerable 
churches ; and the rapid passage from a street of stately edifices? 

z 2 



,34° PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

into a maze of the vilest squalor, steaming with unwholesome 
stenches, and swarming with half-naked children and whole 
worlds of dirty people — make up, altogether, such a scene of 
wonder : so lively, and yet so dead : so noisy, and yet so 
quiet : so obtrusive, and yet so shy and lowering : so wide 
awake,' and yet so fast asleep : that it is a sort of intoxication 
to a stranger to walk on, and on, and on, and look about him. 
A bewildering phantasmagoria, with all the inconsistency of 
a dream, and all the pain and all the pleasure of an extravagant 
reality ! 

The different uses to which some of these Palaces are applied, 
all at once, is characteristic. For instance, the English Banker 
(my excellent and hospitable friend) has his office in a good- 
sized Palazzo in the Strada Nuova. In the hall (every inch of 
which is elaborately painted, but which is as dirty as a police- 
station in London), a hook-nosed Saracen's Head with an 
immense quantity of black hair (there is a man attached to it) 
sells walking-sticks. On the other side of the doorway, a lady 
with a showy handkerchief for head-dress (wife to the Saracen's 
Head, I believe) sells articles of her own knitting ; and some- 
times flowers. A little further in, two or three blind men 
occasionally beg. Sometimes they are visited by a man without 
legs, on a little go-cart, but who has such a fresh-coloured, 
lively face, and such a respectable, well-conditioned body, that 
he looks as if he had sunk into the ground up to his middle, 
or had come, but partially, up a flight of cellar steps to speak 
to somebody. A little further in, a few men, perhaps, lie asleep 
in the middle of the day ; or they may be chairmen waiting 
for their absent freight. If so, they have brought their chairs 
in with them, and there they stand also. On the left of the 
hall is a little room : a hatter's shop. On the first floor is the 
English bank. On the first floor, also, is a whole house, and a 
good large residence too. Heaven knows what there may be 
above that ; but, when you are there, you have only just begun 
to go up-stairs. And yet, coming down-stairs again, thinking of 



GENOA. 34t 

this ; and passing out at a great crazy door in the back of the 
hall, instead of turning the other way, to get into the street 
again ; it bangs behind you, making the dismallest and most 
lonesome echoes, and you stand in a yard (the yard of the same 
house) which seems to have been unvisited by human foot for a 
hundred years. Not a sound disturbs its repose. Not a head 
thrust out of any of the grim, dark, jealous windows within 
sight, makes the weeds in the cracked pavement faint of heart, 
by suggesting the possibility of there being hands to grub them 
up. Opposite to you is a giant figure carved in stone, reclining, 
with an urn upon a lofty piece of artificial rockwork ; and out 
of the urn dangles the fag-end of a leaden pipe, which, once 
upon a time, poured a small torrent down the rocks. But the 
eye-sockets of the giant are not drier than this channel is now. 
He seems to have given his urn, which is nearly upside down, 
a final tilt ; and after crying, like a sepulchral child, " All 
gone !" to have lapsed into a stony silence. 

In the streets of shops the houses are much smaller, but of 
great size notwithstanding, and extremely high. They are very 
dirty : quite undrained, if my nose be at all reliable : and emit 
a peculiar fragrance, like the smell of very bad cheese kept in 
very hot blankets. Notwithstanding the height of the houses, 
there would seem to have been a lack of room in the city, for 
new houses are thrust in everywhere. Wherever it has been 
possible to cram a tumble-down tenement into a crack or corner, 
in it has gone. If there be a nook or angle in the wall of a 
church, or a crevice in any other dead wall, of any sort, there 
you are sure to find some kind of habitation : looking as if it 
had grown there, like a fungus. Against the Government 
House, against the old Senate House, round about any large 
building, little shops stick close, like parasite vermin to the 
great carcase. And for all this, look where you may : up steps, 
down steps, anywhere, everywhere : there are irregular houses, 
receding, starting forward, tumbling down, leaning against their 
neighbours, crippling themselves or their friends by some means 



342 l'ICTURES FROM ITALY. 

or other, until one, more irregular than the rest, chokes up the 
way, and you can't see any further. 

One of the rottenest-looking parts of the town, I think, is 
down by the landing- wharf : though it may be that its being 
associated with a great deal of rottenness on the evening of our 
arrival has stamped it deeper in my mind. Here, again, the 
houses are very high, and are of an infinite variety of deformed 
shapes, and have (as most of the houses have) something hang- 
ing out of a great many windows, and wafting its frouzy 
fragrance on the breeze. . Sometimes, it is a curtain ; some- 
times, it is a carpet ; sometimes, it is a bed ; sometimes, a 
whole line-full, of clothes ;. but. there is almost always _ some- 
thing. Before the basements of. these houses is an arcade over 
the pavement : very massive, dark, and low, like an old. crypt. 
The stone, or plaster, of which it is made, has turned quite 
black; and against every one of these black piles, all sorts. of 
filth and garbage seem to accumulate spontaneously. Beneath 
some of the arches, the sellers of macaroni and polenta establish 
their stalls, which are by no means inviting. The offal of the 
fish market, near at hand — that is to say, of a back-lane, where 
people sit upon the ground and on various old bulk-heads and 
sheds, and sell fish when they have any to dispose of — and of a 
vegetable market, constructed on the same principle — are con- 
tributed to the decoration of this quarter ; and as all the 
mercantile business is transacted here, and it is crowded all 
day, it has a very decided flavour about it. The Porto Franco, 
or Free Port (where goods brought in from foreign countries 
pay no duty until they are sold and taken out, as in a bonded 
warehouse in England), is down here also ; and two portentous 
officials, in cocked-hats, stand at the gate to search you if they 
choose,, and to keep out Monks and Ladies. For, Sanctity. as 
well as Beauty has been known to. yield to. the temptation of 
smuggling, and in the same way : that is to say, by concealing 
the smuggled property beneath the loose folds of its dress. So 
Sanctity and 'Beauty may by no means enter. 



GENOA. 343 

The Streets of Genoa would be all the better for the importa- 
tion of a few Priests of prepossessing appearance. Every fourth 
or fifth man in the streets is a Priest or a Monk ; and there is 
pretty sure to be at least one itinerant ecclesiastic inside or 
outside every hackney carriage on the neighbouring roads. I 
have no knowledge, elsewhere, of more repulsive countenances 
than are to be found among these gentry. If Nature's hand- 
writing be at all legible, greater varieties of sloth, deceit, and 
intellectual torpor could hardly.be observed among any class of 
men "in the world. 

Mr. Pepys once heard a clergyman assert in his sermon, in 
illustration of his respect for the Priestly office, that if he could 
meet" a Priest and angel -together, he- would salute the Priest 
first"" lam rather of the opinion of- Petrarch, who, when -his 
pupil Boccaccio wrote to him in great tribulation, that he had 
been visited and admonished for his writings by a Carthusian 
Friar who claimed to be a messenger immediately commissioned 
by Heaven for that purpose, replied that, for his own part, he 
Would take the liberty of testing the reality of the commission 
by personal observation of the Messenger's face, eyes, forehead, 
behaviour, and discourse. I cannot but believe myself, from 
similar observation, that many unaccredited celestial messengers 
maybe seen skulking through the streets of Genoa, or droning 
aWay their lives in other Italian towns. 

Perhaps the Cappuccini, though not a learned body, are, as 
an order, the best friends of the people. They seem to mingle 
with them more immediately, as their counsellors and com- 
forters ; and to go among them more when they are sick ; and 
to pry less than some other orders into the secrets of families, 
for the purpose of establishing a baleful ascendancy over 
their weaker members j and' to be influenced by a less fierce 
desire to make converts, and, once made, to let them go to 
ruin, soul and body. They may be seen, in their coarse dress, 
in all parts of the town at all times, and begging in the 
markets early in the morning. The Jesuits, too, muster strong 



344 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

in the streets, and go slinking noiselessly about, in pairs, like 
black cats. 

In some of the narrow passages, distinct trades congregate. 
There is a street of jewellers, and there is a row of booksellers ; 
but even down in places where nobody ever can, or ever could, 
penetrate in a carriage, there are mighty old palaces shut in 
among the gloomiest and closest walls, and almost shut out 
from the sun. Very few of the tradesmen have any idea of 
setting forth their goods, or disposing them for show. If you, 
a stranger, want to buy anything, you usually look round the 
shop till you see it ; then clutch it, if it be within reach ; and 
inquire how much. Everything is sold at the most unlikely 
place. If you want coffee, you go to a sweetmeat shop ; and if 
you want meat, you will probably find it behind an old checked 
curtain, down half-a-dozen steps, in some sequestered nook as 
hard to find as if the commodity were poison, and Genoa's law 
were death to any that uttered it. 

Most of the apothecaries' shops are great lounging-places. 
Here, grave men with sticks sit down in the shade for hours 
together, passing a meagre Genoa paper from hand to hand, and 
talking, drowsily and sparingly, about the News. Two or three 
of these are poor physicians, ready to proclaim themselves on an 
emergency, and tear off with any messenger who may arrive. 
You may know them by the way in which they stretch their 
necks to listen when you enter ; and by the sigh with which 
they fall back again into their dull corners, on finding that you 
only want medicine. Few people lounge in the barbers' shops ; 
though they are very numerous, as hardly any man shaves him- 
self. But the apothecary's has its group of loungers, who sit 
back among the bottles, with their hands folded over the tops 
of their sticks. So still and quiet, that either you don't see 
them in the darkened shop, or mistake them — as I did one 
ghostly man in bottle-green, one day, with a hat like a stopper 
— for Horse Medicine. 



GENOA. 345 

On a summer evening the Genoese are as fond of putting 
themselves, as their ancestors were of putting houses, in every 
available inch of space within and about the town. In all the 
lanes and alleys, and up every little ascent, and on every dwarf 
wall, and on every flight of steps, they cluster like bees. Mean- 
while (and especially on festa-days) the bells of the churches 
ring incessantly : not in peals, or any known form of sound, 
but in a horrible, irregular, jerking, dingle, dingle, dingle : 
with a sudden stop at every fifteenth dingle or so, which is 
maddening. This performance is usually achieved by a boy up 
in the steeple, who takes hold of the clapper, or a little rope 
attached to it, and tries to dingle louder than every other boy 
similarly employed. The noise is supposed to be particularly 
obnoxious to Evil Spirits ; but looking up into the steeples, 
and seeing (and hearing) these young Christians thus engaged, 
one might very naturally mistake them for the Enemy. 

Festa-days, early in the autumn, are very numerous. All 
the shops were shut up, twice within a week, for these holi- 
days ; and one night, all the houses in the neighbourhood of a 
particular church were illuminated, while the church itself was 
lighted outside with torches ; and a grove of blazing links was 
erected in an open place outside one of the city gates. This 
part of the ceremony is prettier and more singular a little way 
in the country, where you can trace the illuminated cottages all 
the way up a steep hill-side ; and where you pass festoons of 
tapers, wasting away in the starlight night, before some lonely 
little house upon the road. 

On these days, they always dress the church of the saint in 
whose honour the festa is holden, very gaily. Gold-embroidered 
festoons of different colours hang from the arches ; the altar 
furniture is set forth ; and, sometimes, even the lofty pillars 
are swathed from top to bottom in tight-fitting draperies. The 
cathedral is dedicated to St. Lorenzo. On St. Lorenzo's day we 
went into it, just as the sun was setting. Although these 
decorations are usually in very indifferent taste, the effect, just 



34^ PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

then, was very superb indeed. For the whole building was 
dressed in red ; and the sinking sun, streaming in through a 
great red curtain in the chief doorway, made all the gorgeous- 
ness its own. When the sun went down, and it gradually grew 
quite dark inside, except for a few twinkling tapers on the 
principal altar, and some small dangling silver lamps, it was 
very mysterious and effective. But, sitting in any of the 
churches towards evening is like a mild dose of opium. 

With the money collected at a festa, they usually pay for 
the dressing of the church, and for the hiring of the band, and 
for the tapers.- If there be any left (which seldom happens,'. I 
believe), the souls in^Purgatory get the benefit of. it. .They are. 
also- supposed" to have the - benefit of the exertions t>£ certain 
small boys, who' shake" money-bDxes" : before". some mysterious 
little buildings like rural" turnpikes, which (usually shut up 
close) fly open on Red-letter days, and disclose an image and 
some flowers inside. 

Just without the city gate, on the Albaro Road, is a small 
house, with an altar in it, and a stationary money-box : also for 
the benefit of the souls in Purgatory. Still further to stimu- 
late the charitable, there is a monstrous painting on the plaster, 
on either side of the grated door, representing a select party of 
souls frying. One of them has a grey moustache, and an 
elaborate head of grey hair : as if he had been taken out of a 
hairdresser's window and cast into the furnace. There he is : 
a most grotesque and hideously comic old soul : for ever blis- 
tering in the real sun, and melting in the mimic fire, for 1 the 
gratification and improvement (and the contributions) of the 
poorer Genoese. 

They are not a very joyous people, "and are seldom seen to 
dance on their holidays : the staple places of entertainment, 
among the women, being the churches and the public walks; 
They are very good- tempered, obliging, and industrious. In- 
dustry has not made them clean, for their" habitations are 
extremely filthy, and their usual occupation, on a fine Sunday 




ITALIAN FEASANTS. 



GENOA. 347 

morning, is to sit at their doors, hunting in each others' heads. 
But their dwellings are so close and confined that, if those 
parts of the city had been beaten down by Massena in the time 
of the terrible Blockade, it would have at least occasioned one 
public benefit among many misfortunes: 

The Peasant Women, with naked feet and legs, are so con- 
stantly washing clothes in the public tanks, and in every stream 
and ditch, that one cannot help wondering, in the midst of all 
this dirt, who wears them when they are clean. The custom is 
to lay the wet. linen which is being operated upon, on a smooth 
stone, and hammer away at it with a flat wooden mallet. This 
they do, . as. furiously as if they were revenging themselves 
on dress in. general for being connected with the Fall of 
Mankind. . . '"-.'„ 

,It is not unusual to see, lying on the edge of the tank at 
these times, or on another flat stone, an unfortunate baby, 
tightly swathed up, arms and legs and all, in an enormous 
quantity of wrapper, so that it is unable to move a toe or finger. 
This custom (which we often see represented in old pictures) 
is universal among the common people. A child is left any- 
whex'e without the possibility of crawling away, or is accidentally 
knocked off a shelf, or tumbled out of bed, or is hung up to a 
hook now and then, and left dangling like a doll at an English 
rag shop, without the least inconvenience to anybody. . 

I was sitting, one Sunday, soon after my arrival, in the little 
country church of San. Martino, a couple of miles from the city, 
while a baptism took place. I saw the priest, and an attendant ' 
with a -large taper, and a. mam and a woman, and some others; 
but I had no more idea, until the ceremony was all over, that it 
was a baptism, or .that the curious little stiff instrument, that 
was passed from one to another, in the course of the ceremony, 
by the handle — like a short poker — was a child, than I had that 
it was my own christening. . I borrowed the child afterwards, for 
a minute or two (it was lying across the font then), and found 
it very red in the face, but perfectly quiet,, and not to be bent 



34 8 MCTURES FROM ITALY. 

on any terms. The number of cripples in the streets soon 
ceased to surprise me. 

There are plenty of Saints' and Virgin's Shrines, of course ; 
generally at the corners of streets. The favourite memento to 
the Faithful, about Genoa, is a painting, representing a peasant 
on his knees, "with a spade and some other agricultural imple- 
ments beside him ; and the Madonna, with the Infant Saviour 
in her arms, appearing to him in a cloud. This is the Legend 
of the Madonna della Guardia : a chapel on a mountain within 
a few miles, which is in high repute. It seems that this 
peasant lived all alone by himself, tilling some land atop of the 
mountain, where, being a devout man, he daily said his prayers 
to the Virgin in the open air ; for his hut was a very poor one. 
Upon a certain day, the Virgin appeared to him, as in the 
picture, and said, " Why do you pray in the open air and 
without a priest ? " The peasant explained because there was 
neither priest nor church at hand— a very uncommon complaint 
indeed in Italy. " I should wish, then," said the Celestial 
Visitor, " to have a chapel built here, in which the prayers of 
the Faithful may be offered up." " But, Santissima Madonna," 
said the peasant, " I am a poor man ; and chapels cannot be 
built without money. They must be supported, too, Santissima; 
for to have a chapel, and not support it liberally, is a wicked- 
ness — a deadly sin." This sentiment gave great satisfaction to 
the visitor. " Go ! " said she. " There is such a village in the 
valley on the left, and such another village in the valley on the 
right, and such another village elsewhere, that will gladly con- 
tribute to the building of a chapel. Go to them ! Relate what 
you have seen : and do not doubt that sufficient money will be 
forthcoming to erect my chapel, or that it will, afterwards, be 
handsomely maintained." All of which (miraculously) turned 
out to be quite true. And, in proof of this prediction and 
revelation, there is the chapel of the Madonna della Guardia, 
rich and nourishing at this day. 

The splendour and variety of the Genoese churches can hardly 



GENOA. 349 

be exaggerated. The church of the Annunciata especially : built, 
like many of the others, at the cost of one noble family, and 
now in slow progress of repair : from the outer door to the 
utmost height of the high cupola, is so elaborately painted and 
set in gold, that it looks (as Simond describes it, in his charm- 
ing book on Italy) like a great enamelled snuff-box. Most of 
the richer churches contain some beautiful pictures, or other 
embellishments of great price, almost universally set, side by 
side, with sprawling effigies of maudlin monks, and the veriest 
trash and tinsel ever seen. 

It may be a consequence of the frequent direction of the 
popular mind, and pocket, to the souls in Purgatory, but there 
is very little tenderness for the bodies of the dead here. For 
the very poor, there are, immediately outside one angle of the 
walls, and behind a jutting point of the fortification, near the 
sea, certain common pits — one for every day in the year — which 
all remain closed up, until the turn of each comes for its daily 
reception of dead bodies. Among the troops in the town, there 
are usually some Swiss : more or less. When any of these die, 
they are buried out of a fund maintained by such of their 
countrymen as are resident in Genoa. Their providing coffins 
for these men is matter of great astonishment to the autho- 
rities. 

Certainly, the effect of this promiscuous and indecent splash- 
ing down of dead people into so many wells is bad. It sur- 
rounds Death with revolting associations, that insensibly become 
connected with those whom Death is approaching. Indifference 
and avoidance are the natural result ; and all the softening 
influences of the great sorrow are harshly disturbed. 

There is a ceremony, when an old Cavaliere or the like 
expires, of erecting a pile of benches in the cathedral, to 
represent his bier ; covering them over with a pall of black 
velvet ; putting his hat and sword on the top ; making a little 
square of seats about the whole ; and sending out formal invita- 
tions to his friends and acquaintance to come and sit there, 



35° PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

and hear Mass : which is performed at the principal altar, 
decorated with an infinity of candles for that purpose. 

When the better kind of people die, or are at the point of 
death, their nearest relations generally walk off: retiring into 
the country for a little change, and leaving the body to be dis- 
posed of, without any superintendence from them. The proces- 
sion is usually formed, and the coffin borne, and the funeral s 
conducted, by a body of persons called a Confraternita, who, as 
a kind of voluntary penance, undertake to perform these offices, 
in regular rotation, for the dead ; but who, mingling something 
of pride with their humility, are dressed in a loose garment 
covering their whole person, and wear a hood concealing the 
face ; with breathing holes and apertures for the eyes. The 
effect of this costume is very ghastly : especially in the case of 
a certain Blue Confraternita belonging to Genoa, who, to say 
the least of them, are very ugly customers, and who look — ■ 
suddenly encountered in their pious ministration in the streets 
— as if they were Ghoules or Demons, bearing off the body for 
themselves. 

Although such a custom may be liable to the abuse attendant 
on many Italian customs, of being recognised as a means of 
establishing a current account with Heaven, on which to draw, 
too easily, for future bad actions, or as an expiation for past 
misdeeds, it must be admitted to be a good one, and a practical 
one, and one involving unquestionably good works. A voluntary 
service like this is surely better than the imposed penance (not 
at all an infrequent one) of giving so many licks to such and 
such a stone in the pavement of the cathedral ; or than a voav 
to the Madonna to wear nothing but blue for a year or two. 
This is supposed to give great delight above ; blue being (as is 
well known) the Madonna's favourite colour. Women who have 
devoted themselves to this act of Faith are very commonly seen 
walking in the streets. 

There are three theatres, in the city, besides an old one now 
rarely opened. The most important— the Carlo Felice : the' 



GENOA. 35I 

opera-house of Genoa — is a very splendid, commodious, and 
beautiful theatre. A company of comedians were acting there 
when we arrived : and, after their departure, a second-rate opera 
company came. The great season is not until the carnival time 
— in the spring. Nothing impressed me so much, in my visits 
here (which were pretty numerous), as the uncommonly hard 
and cruel character of the audience, who resent the slightest 
defect, take nothing good-humouredly, seem to be always lying 
in wait for an opportunity to hiss, and spare the actresses as 
little as the actors. But, as there is nothing else of a public 
nature at which they are allowed to express the least disap- 
probation, perhaps they are resolved to make the most of this 
opportunity. 

There are a great number of Piedmontese Officers too, who 
are allowed the privilege of kicking their heels in the pit, for 
next to nothing : gratuitous or cheap accommodation for these 
gentlemen being insisted on by the Governor, in all public or 
semi-public entertainments. They are lofty critics in conse-. 
quence, and infinitely more exacting than if they made the 
unhappy manager's fortune. 

The Teatro Diueno, or Day Theatre, is a covered stage in 
the open air, where the performances take place by daylight, in 
the cool of the afternoon ; commencing at four or five o'clock, 
and lasting some three hours. It is curious, sitting among the 
audience, to have a fine view of the neighbouring hills and 
houses, and to see the neighbours at their windows looking on, 
and to hear the bells of the churches and convents ringing at 
most complete cross purposes with the scene. Beyond this, 
and the novelty of seeing a play in the fresh pleasant air, with 
the darkening evening closing in, there is nothing very exciting 
or characteristic in the performances. The actors are indif- 
ferent ; and though they sometimes represent one of Goldoni's 
comedies, the staple of the Drama is French. Anything like 
nationality is dangerous to despotic governments and Jesuit- 
beleaguered kings, 



352 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

The Theatre of Puppets, or Marionetti — a famous company 
from Milan — is, without any exception, the drollest exhibition 
I ever beheld in my life. I never saw anything so exquisitely 
ridiculous. They look between four and five feet high, but are 
really much smaller ; for when a musician in the orchestra 
happens to put his hat on the stage, it becomes alarmingly 
gigantic, and almost blots out an actor. They usually play a 
comedy and a ballet. The comic man in the comedy I saw one 
summer night is a waiter at an hotel. There never was such a 
locomotive actor since the world began. Great pains are taken 
with him. He has extra joints in his legs : and a practical eye, 
with which he winks at the pit, in a manner that is absolutely 
insupportable to a stranger, but which the initiated audience, 
mainly composed of the common people, receive (so they do 
everything else) quite as a matter of course, and as if he were a 
man. His spirits are prodigious. He continually shakes his 
legs, and winks his eye. And there is a heavy father with grey 
hair, who sits down on the regular conventional stage-bank, and 
blesses his daughter in the regular conventional way, who is 
tremendous. No one would suppose it possible that anything 
short of a real man could be so tedious. It is the triumph 
of art. 

In the ballet, an Enchanter runs away with the Bride in the 
very hour of her nuptials. He brings her to his cave, and tries 
to soothe her. They sit down on a sofa (the regular sofa ! in 
the regular place, O.P. Second Entrance !), and a procession of 
musicians enter ; one creature playing a drum, and knocking 
himself off his legs at every blow. These failing to delight her, 
dancers appear. Four first ; then two ; the two ; the flesh- 
coloured two. The way in which they dance ; the height to 
which they spring ; the impossible and inhuman extent to 
which they pirouette ; the revelation of their preposterous legs ; 
the coming down with a pause, on the very tips of their toes, 
when the music requires it ; the gentleman's retiring up when 
it is the lady's turn ; and the lady's retiring up when it is the 



GENOA. 353 

gentleman's turn ; the final passion of a pas de deux ; and the 
going off with a bound ! — I shall never see a real ballet with a 
composed countenance again. 

I went, another night, to see these Puppets act a play called 
" St. Helena, or the Death of Napoleon." It began by the 
disclosure of Napoleon, with an immense head, seated on a sofa 
in his chamber at St. Helena ; to whom his valet entered, with 
this obscure announcement : 

" Sir Yew ud se on Low !" (the ow as in cow). 

Sir Hudson (that you could have seen his regimentals !) was 
a perfect mammoth of a man to Napoleon ; hideously ugly ; 
with a monstrously disproportionate face, and a great clump for 
the lower jaw, to express his tyrannical and obdurate nature. 
He began his system of persecution by calling his prisoner 
"General Buonaparte;" to which the latter replied, with the 
deepest tragedy, "Sir Yew ud se on Low, call me not thus. 
Eepeat that phrase and leave me ! I am Napoleon, Emperor of 
France !" Sir Yew lid se on, nothing daunted, proceeded to 
entertain him with an ordinance of the British Government, 
regulating the state he should preserve, and the furniture of his 
rooms : and limiting his attendants to four or five persons. 
" Four or five for me ! " said Napoleon. " Me ! One hundred 
thousand men were lately at my sole command ; and this 
English officer talks of four or five for me ! " Throughout the 
piece, Napoleon (who talked very like the real Napoleon, and 
was for ever having small soliloquies by himself) was very 
bitter on " these English officers " and " these English soldiers :" 
to the great satisfaction of the audience, who were perfectly 
delighted to have Low bullied ; and who, whenever Low said 
" General Buonaparte " (which he always did : always receiving 
the same correction), quite execrated him. It would be hard to 
say why ; for Italians have little cause to sympathise with 
Napoleon, Heaven knows. 

There was no plot at all, except that a French officer, dis- 
guised as an Englishman, came to propound a plan of escape ; 

A A 



354 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

and being discovered, but not before Napoleon had magnani- 
mously refused to steal his freedom, was immediately ordered 
off by Low to be hanged. In two very long speeches, which 
Low made memorable by winding up with "Yas!" — to show 
that he was English — which brought down thunders of applause. 
Napoleon was so affected by this catastrophe, that he fainted 
away on the spot, and was carried out by two other puppets. 
Judging from what followed, it would appear that he never 
recovered the shock ; for the next act showed him, in a clean 
shirt, in his bed (curtains crimson and white), where a lady, 
prematurely dressed in mourning, brought two little children, 
who kneeled down by the bedside, while he made a decent end ; 
the last word on his lips being " Vatterlo." 

It was unspeakably ludicrous. Buonaparte's boots were so 
wonderfully beyond control, and did such marvellous things of 
their own accord : doubling themselves, up, and getting under 
tables, and dangling in the air, and sometimes skating away 
with him, out of all human knowledge, when he was in full 
speech — mischances which were not rendered the less absurd 
by a settled melancholy depicted in his face. To put an end 
to one conference with Low, he had to go to a table, and read a 
book : when it was the finest spectacle I ever beheld, to see his 
body bending over the volume like a bootjack, and his senti- 
mental eyes glaring obstinately into the pit. He was pro- 
digiously good in bed, with an immense collar to his shirt, and 
his little hands outside the coverlet. So was Dr. Antommarchi, 
represented by a puppet with long lank hair, like Mawworm's, 
who, in consequence of some derangement of his wires, hovered 
about the couch like a vulture, and gave medical opinions in 
the air. He was almost as good as Low, though the latter was 
great at all times — a decided brute and villain, beyond all possi- 
bility of mistake. Low was especially fine at the last, when, 
hearing the doctor and the valet say, " The Emperor is dead I" 
he pulled out his watch, and wound up the piece (not the watch) 
by exclaiming, with characteristic brutality, " Ha ! ha ! Eleven 



GENOA, 355 

minutes to six! The General dead! and the spy hanged !" 
This brought the curtain down triumphantly. 

There is not in Italy, they say (and I believe them), a lovelier 
residence than the Palazzo Peschiere, or Palace of the Fish-ponds, 
whither we removed as soon as our three months' tenancy of 
the Pink Gaol at Albaro had ceased and determined. 

It stands on a height within the walls of Genoa, but aloof 
from the town : surrounded by beautiful gardens of its own, 
adorned with statues, vases, fountains, marble basins, terraces, 
walks of orange-trees and lemon-trees, groves of roses and 
camellias. All its apartments are beautiful in their proportions 
and decorations ; but the great hall, some fifty feet in height, 
with three large windows at the end, overlooking the whole town 
of Genoa, the harbour, and the neighbouring sea, affords one of 
the most fascinating and delightful prospects in the world. 
Any house more cheerful and habitable than the great rooms 
are, within, it would be difficult to conceive ; and certainly 
nothing more delicious than the scene without, in sunshine or 
in moonlight, could be imagined. It is more like an enchanted 
palace in an Eastern story than a grave and sober lodging. 

How you may wander on, from room to room, and never tire 
of the wild fancies on the walls and ceilings, as bright in their 
fresh colouring as if they had been painted yesterday ; or how 
one floor, or even the great hall which opens on eight other 
rooms, is a spacious promenade ; or how there are corridors and 
bedchambers above, which we never use and rarely visit, and 
scarcely know the way through ; or how there is a view of a 
perfectly different character on each of the four sides of the 
building ; matters little. But that prospect from the hall is 
like a vision to me. I go back to it in fancy, as I have done 
in calm reality a hundred times a day ; and stand there, looking 
out, with the sweet scents from the garden rising up about me, 
in a perfect dream of happiness. 

There lies all Genoa, in beautiful confusion, with its many 

A A 2 



350 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

churches, monasteries, and convents, pointing up into the 
sunny sky ; and down below me, just where the roofs begin, a 
solitary convent parapet, fashioned like a gallery, with an iron 
cross at the end, where sometimes, early in the morning, I have 
seen a little group of dark-veiled nuns gliding sorrowfully to 
and fro, and stopping now and then to peep down upon the 
waking world in which they have no part. Old Monte Faccio, 
brightest of hills in good weather, but sulkiest when storms are 
coming on, is here, upon the left. The Fort within the walls 
(the good King built it to command the town, and beat the 
houses of the Genoese about their ears, in case they should be 
discontented) commands that height upon the right. The broad 
sea lies beyond, in front there ; and that hue of coast, begin- 
ning by the lighthouse, and tapering away, a mere speck in the 
rosy distance, is the beautiful coast road that leads to Nice. 
The garden near at hand, among the roofs and houses : all red 
with roses and fresh with little fountains : is the Acqua Sola — 
a public promenade, where the military band plays gaily, and 
the white veils cluster thick, and the Genoese nobility ride 
round, and round, and round, in state clothes and coaches at 
least, if not in absolute wisdom. Within a stone's throw, as it 
seems, the audience of the Day Theatre sit : their faces turned 
this way. But, as the stage is hidden, it is very odd, without 
a knowledge of the cause, to see their faces change so suddenly 
from earnestness to laughter ; and odder still to hear the rounds 
upon rounds of applause, rattling in the evening air, to which 
the curtain falls. But, being Sunday night, they act their best 
and most attractive play. And now the sun is going down, in 
such magnificent array of red, and green, and golden light, as 
neither pen nor pencil could depict ; and to the ringing of the 
vesper bells, darkness sets in at once, without a twilight. Then, 
lights begin to shine in Genoa, and on the country road ; and 
the revolving lantern out at sea there, flashing, for an instant, 
on this palace front and portico, illuminates it as if there were 
a bright moon bursting from behind a cloud ; then, merges it 



GENOA. 357 

in deep obscurity. And this, so far as I know, is the only reason 
why the Genoese avoid it after dark, and think it haunted. 

My memory will haunt it, many nights, in time to come ; 
but nothing worse, I will engage. The same Ghost will occa- 
sionally sail away, as I did one pleasant autumn evening, into 
the bright prospect, and snuff the morning air at Marseilles. 

The corpulent hairdresser was still sitting in his slippers out- 
side his shop-door there, but the twirling ladies in the window, 
with the natural inconstancy of their sex, had ceased to twirl, 
and were languishing, stock-still, with their beautiful faces 
addressed to blind corners of the establishment, where it was 
impossible for admirers to penetrate. 

The steamer had come from Genoa in a delicious run of 
eighteen hours, and we were going to run back again by the 
Cornice Road from Nice ; not being satisfied to have seen only 
the outsides of the beautiful towns that rise in picturesque 
white clusters from among the olive woods, and rocks, and hills, 
upon the margin of the Sea. 

The boat which started for Nice that night, at eight o'clock, 
was very small, and so crowded with goods that there was 
scarcely room to move ; neither was there anything to eat on 
board, except bread ; nor to drink, except coffee. But, being 
due at Nice at about eight or so in the morning, this was of no 
consequence : so when we began to wink at the bright stars, in 
involuntary acknowledgment of their winking at us, we turned 
into our berths, in a crowded, but cool little cabin, and slept 
soundly till morning. 

The boat being as dull and dogged a little boat as ever was 
built, it was within an hour of noon when we turned into Nice 
Harbour, where we very little expected anything but breakfast. 
But we were laden with wool. Wool must not remain in the 
Custom House at Marseilles more than twelve months at a 
stretch, without paying duty. It is the custom to make ficti- 
tious removals of unsold wool to evade this law ; to take it 
somewhere when the twelve months are nearly out ; bring it 



35 8 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 



straight back again ; and warehouse it, as anew cargo, for nearly 
twelve months longer. This wool of ours had come originally 
from some place in the East. It was recognised as Eastern 
produce, the moment we entered the harbour. Accordingly, 
the gay little Sunday boats, full of holiday people, which had 
come off to greet us, were warned away by the authorities ; we 
were declared in quarantine ; and a great flag was solemnly run 
up to the masthead on the wharf, to make it known to all the 
town. 

It was a very hot day indeed. We were unshaved, unwashed, 
undressed, unfed, and could hardly enjoy the absurdity of lying 
blistering in a lazy harbour, with the town looking on from a 
respectful distance, all manner of whiskered men in cocked-hats 
discussing our fate at a remote guard-house, with gestures (we 
looked very hard at them through telescopes) expressive of a 
week's detention at least : and nothing whatever the matter all 
the time. But even in this crisis the Brave Courier achieved 
a triumph. He telegraphed somebody (/ saw nobody) either 
naturally connected with the hotel, or put en rapport with the 
establishment for that occasion only. The telegraph was 
answered, and in half an hour, or less, there came a loud shout 
from the guard-house. The captain was wanted Everybody 
helped the captain into hiis boat. , Everybody got his luggage, 
and said we were going. The captain rowed away, and dis- 
appeared behind a little jutting corner of the Galley-slaves' 
Prison : and presently came back with something, very sulkily. 
The Brave Courier met him at the side, and received the some- 
thing as its rightful owner. It was a wicker basket, folded in 
a linen cloth ; and in it were two great bottles of wine, a roast 
fowl, some salt fish chopped with garlic, a great loaf of bread, a 
dozen or so of peaches, and a few other trifles. When we had 
selected our own breakfast, the Brave Courier invited a chosen 
party to partake of these refreshments, and assured them that 
tVy need, not be deterred by motives of delicacy, as he would 
order a second basket to be furnished at their expense. Which 



NICE HARBOUR. 35.9 

he did — no one knew how — and by-and-by, the captain being 
again summoned, agaiu sulkily returned with another some- 
thing ; over which my popular attendant presided as before : 
carving with a clasp-knife, his own personal property, something 
smaller than a Koman sword. 

The whole party on board were made merry by these un- 
expected supplies ; but none more so than a loquacious little 
Frenchman, who got drunk in five minutes, and a sturdy Cap- 
puccino Friar, who had taken everybody's fancy mightily, and 
was one of the best friars in the world, I verily believe. 

He had a free, open countenance ; and a rich brown, flowing 
beard ; and was a remarkably handsome man, of about fifty. He 
had come up to us early in the morning, and inquired whether we 
were sure to be at Nice by eleven ; saying that he particularly 
wanted to know, because, if we reached it by that time, he 
would have to perform Mass, and must deal with the consecrated 
wafer, fasting ; whereas, if there were no chance of his being in 
time, he would immediately breakfast. He made this communi- 
cation under the idea that the Brave Courier was the captain ; 
and, indeed, he looked much more like it than anybody else on 
board. Being assured that we should arrive in good time, he 
fasted, and talked, fasting, to everybody, with the most charm- 
ing good-humour ; answering jokes at the expense of friars with 
other jokes at the expense of laymen, and saying that, friar as he 
was, he would engage to take up the two strongest men on board, 
one after the other, with his teeth, and carry them along the 
deck. Nobody gave him the opportunity, but I dare say he 
could have done it ; for he was a gallant, noble figure of a man, 
even in the Cappuccino dress, which is the ugliest and most 
ungainly that can well be. 

All this had given great delight to the loquacious Frenchman, 
who gradually patronised the Friar very much, and seemed to 
commiserate him, as one who might have been born a French- 
man himself, but for ,an unfortunate destiny. Although his 
patronage was such as a mouse might bestow upon a lion, he 



360 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

had a vast opinion of its condescension ; and, in the warmth of 
that sentiment, occasionally rose on tiptoe, to slap the Friar on 
the back. 

When the baskets arrived : it being then too late for Mass : 
the Friar went to work bravely ; eating prodigiously of the cold 
meat and bread, drinking deep draughts of the wine, smoking 
cigars, taking snuff, sustaining an uninterrupted conversation 
with all hands, and occasionally running to the boat's side, and 
hailing somebody on shore with the intelligence that we musi 
be got out of this quarantine somehow or other, as he had to 
take part in a great religious procession in the afternoon. After 
this, he would come back, laughing lustily from pure good- 
humour : while the Frenchman wrinkled his small face into ten 
thousand creases, and said how droll it was, and what a brave 
boy was that Friar ! At length the heat of the sun without, 
and of the wine within, made the Frenchman sleepy. So, in 
the noontide of his patronage of his gigantic protege', he lay 
down among the wool, and began to snore. 

It was four o'clock before we were released ; and the French- 
man, dirty, and woolly, and snuffy, was still sleeping when the 
Friar went ashore. As soon as we were free, we all hurried away 
to wash and dress, that we might make a decent appearance at 
the procession ; and I saw no more of the Frenchman until Ave 
took up our station in the main street to see it pass, when he 
squeezed himself into a front place, elaborately renovated ; threw 
back his little coat, to show a broad-barred velvet waistcoat, 
sprinkled all over with stars ; and adjusted himself and his cane 
so as utterly to bewilder and transfix the Friar, when he should 
appear. 

The procession was a very long one, and included an immense 
number of people divided into small parties ; each party chant- 
ing nasally, on its own account, without reference to any other, 
and producing a most dismal result. There were angels, crosses, 
Virgins carried on flat boards surrounded by Cupids, crowns, 
saints, missals, infantry, tapers, monks, nuns, relics, dignitaries 



NICE HARBOUR. 361 

of the church in green hats, walking under crimson parasols : 
and, here and there, a species of sacred street lamp hoisted on 
a pole. We looked out anxiously for the Cappuccini, and pre- 
sently their brown robes and corded girdles were seen coming 
on in a body. 

I observed the little Frenchman chuckle over the idea that 
when the Friar saw him in the broad-barred waistcoat, he would 
mentally exclaim, "Is that my Patron? That distinguished 
man ? " and would be covered with confusion. Ah ! never was 
the Frenchman so deceived. As our friend the Cappuccino 
advanced, with folded arms, he looked straight into the visage 
of the little Frenchman, with a bland, serene, composed abstrac- 
tion, not to be described. There was not the faintest trace of 
recognition or amusement on his features ; not the smallest con- 
sciousness of bread and meat, wine, snuff, or cigars. " C'est 
lui-m^me," I heard the little Frenchman say, in some doubt. 
Oh yes, it was himself. It was not his brother or his nephew, 
very like him. It was he. He walked in great state : being 
one of the Superiors of the Order : and looked his part to 
admiration. There never was anything so perfect of its kind as 
the contemplative way in which he allowed his placid gaze to 
rest on us, his late companions, as if he had never seen us in 
his life, and didn't see us then. The Frenchman, quite humbled, 
took off his hat at last, but the Friar still passed on, with the 
same imperturbable serenity ; and the broad-barred waistcoat, 
fading into the crowd, was seen no more. 

The procession wound up with a discharge of musketry that 
shook all the windows in the town. Next afternoon we started 
for Genoa by the famed Cornice Eoad. 

The half-French, half-Italian Vetturino, who undertook, with 
his little rattling carriage and pair, to convey us thither in three 
days, was a careless, good-looking fellow, whose light-heartedness 
and singing propensities knew no bounds as long as we went on 
smoothly. So long, he had a word and a smile, and a flick of 
his whip, for all the peasant girls, and odds and ends of the 



3 6 * PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

Sonnamhula for all the echoes. So long, he went jingling 
through every little village, with bells on his horses and rings 
in his ears : a very meteor of gallantry and cheerfulness. But, 
it was highly characteristic to see him under a slight reverse of 
circumstances, when, in one part of the journey, we came to a 
narrow place where a waggon had broken down and stopped up 
the road. His hands were twined in his hair immediately, as if 
a combination of all the direst accidents in life had suddenly 
fallen on his devoted head. He swore in French, prayed in 
Italian, and went up and down, beating his feet on the ground 
in a very ecstasy of despair. There were various carters and 
mule-drivers assembled round the broken waggon, and at last 
some man, of an original turn of mind, proposed that a general 
and joint effort should be made to get things to rights again, and 
clear the way — an idea which, I verily believe, would never have 
presented itself to our friend, though we had remained there until 
now. It was done at no great cost of labour ; but at every pause 
in the doing, his hands were wound in his hair again, as if there 
were no ray of hope to lighten his misery. The moment he was 
on his box once more, and clattering briskly downhill, he 
returned to the Sonnamhula and the peasant girls, as if it were 
not in the power of misfortune to depress him. 

Much of the romance of the beautiful towns and villages on 
this beautiful road disappears when they are entered, for many 
of them are very miserable. The streets are narrow, dark, and 
dirty ; the inhabitants lean and squalid ; and the withered old 
women, with their wiry grey hair twisted up into a knot on the 
top of the head, like a pad to carry loads on, are so intensely 
ugly, both along the Riviera, and in Genoa too, that, seen Strega 
gling about in dim doorways with their spindles, or crooning 
together in by-corners, they are like a population of Witches — 
except that they certainly are not to be suspected of brooms or 
any other instrument of cleanliness. Neither are the pig-skins, in 
common use to hold wine, and hung out in the sundn all direc- 
tions, by any means ornamental, as they always preserve the 



CORXICE ROAD. 363 

form of very bloated pigs, with their heads and legs cut off, 
dangling upside down by their own tails. 

These towns, as they are seen in the approach, however : 
nestling, with their clustering roofs and towers, among trees on 
steep hill-sides, or built upon the brink of noble bays : are 
charming. The vegetation is everywhere luxuriant and beauti- 
ful, and the Palm-tree makes a novel feature in the novel 
scenery. In one town, San Kemo — a most extraordinary place, 
built on gloomy open arches, so that one might ramble under- 
neath the whole town — there are pretty terrace gardens ; in other 
towns there is the clang of shipwrights' hammers, and the 
building of small vessels on the beach. In some of the broad 
bays the fleets of Europe might ride at anchor. In every case, 
each little group of houses presents, in the distance, some 
enchanting confusion of picturesque and fanciful shapes. 

The road itself, now high above the glittering sea, which 
breaks against the foot of the precipice : now turning inland to 
sweep the shore of a bay : now crossing the stony bed of a 
mountain stream : now low down on the beach : now winding 
among riven rocks of many forms and colours : now chequered 
by a solitary ruined tower, one of a chain of towers built, in old 
time, to protect the coast from the invasions of the Barbary 
Corsairs — presents new beauties every moment. "When its own 
striking scenery is passed, and it trails on through a long line of 
suburb, lying on the flat seashore, to Genoa, then the changing 
glimpses of that noble city and its harbour awaken a new 
source of interest ; freshened by every huge, unwieldy, half- 
inhabited old house in its outskirts : and coming to its climax 
when the city gate is reached, and all Genoa, with its beau- 
tiful harbour and neighbouring hills, bursts proudly on the 
view. 



TO PARMA, MODENA, AND BOLOGNA. 

T STROLLED away from Genoa on the sixth of November, 
bound for a good many places (England among them), but 
first for Piacenza ; for which town I started in the coupe* of a 
machine something like a travelling caravan, in company with 
the Brave Courier, and a lady with a large dog, who howled 
dolefully, at intervals, all night. It was very wet, and very 
cold ; very dark, and very dismal ; we travelled at the rate of 
barely four miles an hour, and stopped nowhere for refreshment. 
At ten o'clock next morning we changed coaches at Alessandria, 
where we Avere packed up in another coach (the body whereof 
would have been small for a fly), in company with a very old 
priest ; a young Jesuit, his companion — who carried their 
breviaries and other books, and who, in the exertion of getting 
into the coach, had made a gash of pink leg between his black 
stocking and his black knee-shorts, that reminded one of Hamlet 
in Ophelia's closet, only it was visible on both legs — a provin- 
cial Avvocato ; and a gentleman with a red nose that had an 
uncommon and singular sheen upon it, which I never observed 
in the human subject before. In this way we travelled on until 
four o'clock in the afternoon : the roads being still very heavy, 
and the coach very slow. To mend the matter, the old priest 
was troubled with cramps in his legs, so that he had to give a 
terrible yell every ten minutes or so, and be hoisted out by the 
united efforts of the company ; the coach always stopping for him 
with great gravity. This disorder, and the roads, formed the 
main subject of conversation. Finding, in the afternoon, that 
the coupe* had discharged two people, and had only one passenger 



stradella. 365 

inside — a monstrous ugly Tuscan, with a great purple moustache, 
of which no man could see the ends when he had his hat on — 
I took advantage of its better accommodation, and, in company 
with this gentleman (who was very conversational and good- 
humoured), travelled on until nearly eleven o'clock at night, 
when the driver reported that he couldn't think of going any 
farther, and we accordingly made a halt at a place called 
Stradella. 

The inn was a series of strange galleries surrounding a yard ; 
where our coach, and a waggon or two, and a lot of fowls and 
fire-wood, were all heaped up together, higgledy-piggledy ; so 
that you didn't know, and couldn't have taken your oath, which 
was a fowl and which was a cart. We followed a sleepy man with 
a flaring torch into a great, cold room, where there were two 
immensely broad beds, on what looked like two immensely 
broad deal dining-tables ; another deal table of similar dimen- 
sions in the middle of the bare floor ; four windows ; and two 
chairs. Somebody said it w r as my room ; and I walked up and 
down it for half an hour or so, staring at the Tuscan, the old 
priest, the young priest, and the Avvocato (Red Nose lived in 
the town, and had gone home), who sat upon the beds, and 
stared at me in return. 

The rather dreary whimsicality of this stage of the proceedings 
is interrupted by an announcement from the Brave (he has been 
cooking) that supper is ready ; and to the priest's chamber (the 
next room, and the counterpart of mine) we all adjourn. The 
first dish is a cabbage, boiled with a great quantity of rice in a 
tureen full of water, and flavoured with cheese. It is so hot, 
and we are so cold, that it appears almost jolly. The second 
dish is some little bits of pork, fried with pigs' kidneys. The 
third, two red fowls. The fourth, two little red turkeys. The 
fifth, a huge stew of garlic and truffles, and I don't know what 
else ; and this concludes the entertainment. 

Before I can sit down in my own chamber, and think it of 
the dampest, the door opens, and the Brave comes moving in, 



366 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

in the middle of such a quantity of fuel that he looks like 
Birnam Wood taking a winter walk. He kindles this heap in 
a twinkling, and produces a jorum of hot brandy-and-water ; 
for that bottle of his keeps company with the seasons, and now 
holds nothing but the purest eau de vie. When he has accom- 
plished this feat, he retires for the night ; and I hear him, for 
an hour afterwards, and, indeed, until I fall asleep, making jokes 
in some outhouse (apparently under the pillow), where he is 
smoking cigars with a party of confidential friends. He never 
was in the house in his life before : but he knows everybody 
everywhere, before he has been anywhere five minutes ; and is 
certain to have attracted to himself, in the meantime, the enthu- 
siastic devotion of the whole establishment. 

This is at twelve o'clock at night. At four o'clock. next 
morning he is up again, fresher than a new-blown rose ; making 
blazing fires without the least authority from the landlord ; pro- 
ducing mugs of scalding coffee when nobody else can get any- 
thing but cold water ; and going out into the dark streets, and 
roaring for fresh milk, on the chance of somebody with a cow 
getting up to supply it. While the horses are " coming," I 
stumble out into the town too. It seems to be all one little 
Piazza, with a cold damp wind blowing in and out of the arches, 
alternately, in a sort of pattern. But it is profoundly dark, and 
raining heavily ; and I shouldn't know it to-morrow, if I were 
taken there to try. Which Heaven forbid ! 

The horses arrive in about an hour. In the interval the 
driver swears : sometimes Christian oaths, sometimes Pagan 
oaths. Sometimes, when it is a long, compound oath, he 
begins with Christianity and merges into Paganism. Various 
messengers are dispatched ; not so much after the horses, as 
after each other ; for the first messenger never comes back, and 
all the rest imitate him. At length the horses appear, sur- 
rounded by all the messengers ; some kicking them, and some 
dragging them, and all shouting abuse to them. Then, the 
old priest, the young priest, the Av-vocato, the Tuscan, and 



PIACENZA. 367 

all of us take our places ; and sleepy voices, proceeding from 
the doors of extraordinary hutches in divers parts of the yard, 
cry out " Addio, corriere mio ! Buon' viaggio, corriere !" 
Salutations which the Courier, with his face one monstrous 
grin, returns in like manner as we go jolting and wallowing 
away through the mud. 

At Piacenza, which was four or five hours' journey from the 
inn at Stradella, we broke up our little company before the 
hotel door, with divers manifestations of friendly feeling on all 
sides. The old priest was taken with the cramp again, before 
he had got half-way down the street ; and the young priest 
laid the bundle of books on a door-step, while he dutifully 
rubbed the old gentleman's legs. The client of the Avvocato 
was waiting for him at the yard-gate, and kissed him on each 
cheek with such a resounding smack, that I am afraid he had 
either a very bad case, or a scantily-furnished purse. The 
Tuscan, with a cigar in his mouth, went loitering off, carrying 
his hat in his hand that he might the better trail up the ends 
of his dishevelled moustache. And the Brave Courier, as he 
and I strolled away to look about us, began immediately to 
entertain me with the private histories and family affairs of the 
whole party. 

A brown, decayed, old town Piacenza is. A deserted, soli- 
tary, grass-grown place, with ruined ramparts ; half-filled-up 
trenches, which afford a frouzy pasturage to the lean kine that 
wander about them ; and streets of stern houses, moodily 
frowning at the other houses over the way. The sleepiest and 
shabbiest of soldiery go wandering about, with the double curse 
of laziness and poverty, uncouthly wrinkling their misfitting 
regimentals ; the dirtiest of children play with their impromptu 
toys (pigs and mud) in the feeblest of gutters ; and the gauntest 
of dogs trot in and out of the dullest of archways, in perpetual 
search of something to eat, which they never seem to find. A 
mysterious and solemn Palace, guarded by two colossal statues, 
twin Genii of the place, stands gravely in the midst of the idle 



3,68 PICTURES PROM ITALY. 

town ; and the king with the marble legs, who nourished in the 
time of the thousand and one Nights, might live contentedly 
inside of it, and never have the energy, in his upper half of 
flesh and blood, to want to come out. 

What a strange, half-sorrowful, and half-delicious doze it is 
to ramble through these places gone to sleep and basking in the 
sun ! Each, in its turn, appears to be, of all the mouldy, 
dreary, God-forgotten towns in the wide world, the chief. Sit- 
ting on this hillock where a bastion used to be, and where a 
noisy fortress was, in the time of the old Roman station here, I 
become aware that I have never known till now what it is to be 
lazy. A dormouse must surely be in very much the same con- 
dition before he retires under the wool in his cage ; or a 
tortoise before he buries himself. I feel that I am getting 
rusty. That any attempt to think would be accompanied with 
a creaking noise. That there is nothing, anywhere, to be done, 
or needing to be done. That there is no more human progress, 
motion, effort, or advancement of any kind beyond this. That 
the whole scheme stopped here centuries ago, and lay down to 
rest until the Day of Judgment. 

Never while the Brave Courier lives ! Behold him jingling 
out of Piacenza, and staggering this way, in the tallest posting- 
chaise ever seen, so that he looks out of the front window as if 
he were peeping over a garden wall ; while the postillion, con- 
centrated essence of all the shabbiness of Italy, pauses for a 
moment in his animated conversation, to touch his hat to a 
blunt-nosed little Virgin, hardly less shabby than himself, 
enshrined in a plaster Punch's show outside the town. 

In Genoa, and thereabouts, they train the vines on trellis- 
work, supported on square clumsy pillars, which, in themselves, 
are anything but picturesque. But here they twine them 
around trees, and let them trail among the hedges ; and the 
vineyards are full of trees, regularly planted for this purpose, 
each with its own vine twining and clustering about it. Their 
leaves are now of the brightest gold and deepest red ; and never 



PARMA. 369 

was anything so enchantingly graceful and full of beauty, 
Through miles of these delightful forms and colours the road 
winds its way. The wild festoons, the elegant wreaths, and 
crowns, and garlands of all shapes ; the fairy nets flung over 
great trees, and making them prisoners in sport ; the tumbled 
heaps and mounds of exquisite shapes upon the ground ; how 
rich and beautiful they are ! And every now and then a long, 
long line of trees will be all bound and garlanded together : as 
if they had taken hold of one another, and were coming dancing 
down the field ! 

Parma has cheerful, stirring streets for an Italian town ; and 
consequently is not so characteristic as many places of less note. 
Always excepting the retired Piazza, where the Cathedral, 
Baptistery, and Campanile — ancient buildings, of a sombre 
brown, embellished with innumerable grotesque monsters and 
dreamy-looking creatures carved in marble and red stone — are 
clustered in a noble and magnificent repose. Their silent 
presence was only invaded, when I saw them, by the twittering 
of the many birds that were flying in and out of the crevices in 
the stones, and little nooks in the architecture, where they had 
made their nests. They were busy, rising from the cold shade 
of .Temples made with hands into the sunny air of Heaven. 
Not so the worshippers within, who were listening to the same 
drowsy chant, or kneeling before the same kinds of images and 
tapers, or whispering with their heads bowed down, in the very 
selfsame dark confessionals as I had left in Genoa and every- 
where else. 

The decayed and mutilated paintings with which this cnurch 
is covered have, to my thinking, a remarkably mournful and 
depressing influence. It is miserable to see great works of 
art — something of the Souls of Painters — perishing and fading 
away, like human forms. This cathedral is odorous with the 
rotting of Correggio's frescoes in the Cupola. Heaven knows 
how beautiful they may have been at one time. Connoisseurs 
fall into raptures with them now ; but such a labyrinth of arms 

BS 



37 D PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

and legs : such heaps of foreshortened limbs, entangled and 
involved and jumbled together : no operative surgeon, gone 
mad, could imagine in his wildest delirium. 

There is a very interesting subterranean church here ; the 
roof supported by marble pillars, behind each of which there 
seemed to be at least one beggar in ambush : to say nothing of 
the tombs and secluded altars. From every one of these lurk- 
ing-places, such crowds of phantom-looking men and women, 
leading other men and women with twisted limbs, or chattering 
jaws, or paralytic gestures, or idiotic heads, or some other sad 
infirmity, came hobbling out to beg, that if the ruined frescoes 
in the cathedral above had been suddenly animated, and had 
retired to this lower church, they could hardly have made a 
greater confusion, or exhibited a more confounding display of 
arms and legs. 

There is Petrarch's Monument, too ; and there is the 
Baptistery, with its beautiful arches and immense font ; and 
there is a gallery containing some very remarkable pictures, 
whereof a few were being copied by hairy -faced artists, with 
little velvet caps more off their heads than on. There is the 
Farnese Palace, too ; and in it one of the dreariest spectacles 
of decay that ever was seen — a grand, old, gloomy theatre 
mouldering away. 

It is a large wooden structure, of the horse-shoe shape ; the 
lower seats arranged upon the Roman plan, but above them, 
great heavy chambers rather than boxes, where the Nobles sat, 
remote, in their proud state. Such desolation as has fallen on 
this theatre, enhanced in the spectator's fancy by its gay inten- 
tion and design, none but worms can be familiar with. A 
hundred and ten years have passed since any play was acted 
here. The sky shines in through the gashes in the roof; the 
boxes are dropping down, wasting away, and only tenanted by 
rats ; damp and mildew smear the faded colours, and make 
spectral maps upon the panels ; lean rags are dangling down 
where there were gay festoons on the Proscenium ; the stage 



M.ODENA. 37 1 

has rotted so, that a narrow wooden gallery is thrown across it, 
or it would sink beneath the tread, and bury the visitor in the 
gloomy depth beneath. The desolation and decay impress 
themselves on all the senses. The air has a mouldering smell, 
and an earthy taste ; any stray outer sounds that straggle in 
with some lost sunbeam are muffled and heavy ; and the worm, 
the maggot, and the rot have changed the surface of the wood 
beneath the touch, as time will seam and roughen a smooth 
hand. If ever Ghosts act plays, they act them on this ghostly 
stage. 

It was most delicious weather when we came into Modena, 
where the darkness of the sombre colonnades over the footways 
skirting the main street on either side was made refreshing and 
agreeable by the bright sky, so wonderfully blue. I passed 
from all the glory of the day into a dim cathedral, where high 
mass was performing, feeble tapers were burning, people were 
kneeling in all directions before all manner of shrines; and 
officiating priests were crooning the usual chant, in the usual 
low, dull, drawling, melancholy tone. 

Thinking how strange it was to find, in every stagnant town, 
this same Heart beating with the same monotonous pulsation, 
the centre of the same torpid, listless system, I came out 
by another door, and was suddenly scared to death by a blast 
from the shrillest trumpet that ever was blown. Immediately 
came tearing round the corner an equestrian company from 
Paris : marshalling themselves under the walls of the church, 
and flouting, with their horses' heels, the griffins, lions, tigers, 
and other monsters in stone and marble, decorating its exterior. 
First, there came a stately nobleman with a great deal of hair, 
and no hat, bearing an enormous banner, on which was inscribed, 
Mazeppa ! to-night ! Then, a Mexican chief, with a great 
pear-shaped club on his shoulder, like Hercules. Then, six or 
eight Roman chariots : each with a beautiful lady in extremely 
short petticoats, and unnaturally pink tights, erect within: 
shedding beaming looks upon the crowd, in which there was 

B b 2 



37 2 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

a latent expression of discomposure and anxiety, for which I 
couldn't account, until, as the open back of each chariot pre- 
sented itself, I saw the immense difficulty with which the pink 
legs maintained their perpendicular, over the uneven pavement 
of the town : which gave me quite a new idea of the ancient 
Romans and Britons. The procession was brought to a close 
by some dozen indomitable warriors of different nations, riding 
two and two, and haughtily surveying the tame population of 
Modena : among whom, however, they occasionally condescended 
to scatter largesse in the form of a few handbills. After cara- 
coling among the lions and tigers, and proclaiming that evening's 
entertainments with blast of trumpet, it thdh filed off by the 
other end of the square, and left a new and greatly increased 
dulness behind. 

When the procession had so entirely passed away that the 
shrill trumpet was mild in the distance, and the tail of the last 
horse was hopelessly round the corner, the people who had come 
out of the church to stare at it, went back again. But one old 
lady, kneeling on the pavement within, near the door, had seen 
it all, and had been immensely interested, without getting up ; 
and this old lady's eye, at that juncture, I happened to catch : 
to our mutual confusion. She cut our embarrassment very short, 
however, by crossing herself devoutly, and going down, at full 
length, on her face, before a figure in a fancy petticoat and a 
gilt crown ; which was so like one of the procession figures, that 
perhaps at this hour she may think the whole appearance a 
celestial vision. Anyhow, I must certainly have forgiven her 
her interest in the Circus, though I had been her Father Con- 
fessor. 

There was a little fiery-eyed old man with a crooked shoulder, 
in the cathedral, who took it very ill that I made no effort to 
see the bucket (kept in an old tower) which the people of 
Modena took away from the people of Bologna in the fourteenth 
century, and about which there was war made and a mock- 
heroic poem by Tassone, too. Being quite content, however, 



BOLOGNA. 373 

to look at the outside of the tower, and feast, in imagination, 
on the bucket within ; and preferring to loiter in the shade of 
the tall Campanile, and about the cathedral ; I have no personal 
knowledge of this bucket, even at the present time. 

Indeed, we were at Bologna before the little old man (or 
the Guide Book) would have considered that we had half done 
justice to the wonders of Modena. But it is such a delight to 
me to leave new scenes behind, and still go on, encountering 
newer scenes — and, moreover, I have such a perverse disposition 
in respect of sights that are cut, and dried, and dictated — that 
I fear I sin against similar authorities in every place I visit. 

Be this as it may, in the pleasant Cemetery at Bologna I 
found myself walking next Sunday morning, among the stately 
marble tombs and colonnades, in company with a crowd of 
Peasants, and escorted by a little Cicerone of that town, who 
was excessively anxious for the honour of the place, and most 
solicitous to divert my attention from the bad monuments : 
whereas he was never tired of extolling the good ones. Seeing 
this little man (a good-humoured little man he was, who seemed 
to have nothing in his face but shining teeth and eyes) looking, 
wistfully, at a certain plot of grass, I asked him who was buried 
there. " The poor people, Signore," he said with a shrug and 
a smile, and stopping to look back at me — for he always went 
on a little before, and took off his hat to introduce every new 
monument. " Only the poor, Signore ' It's very cheerful. It's 
very lively. How green it is, how cool ! It's like a meadow ! 
There are five," — holding up all the fingers of his right hand 
to express the number, which an Italian peasant will always do, 
if it be within the compass of his ten fingers, — " there are five 
of my little children buried there, Signore ; just there ; a little 
to the right. Well ! Thanks to God ! It's very cheerful. How 
green it is ! How cool it is ! It's quite a meadow !" 

He looked me very hard in the face, and seeing I was sorry 
for him, took a pinch of snuff (every Cicerone takes snuff), and 
made a little bow ; partly in deprecation of his having alluded 



374 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

to such a subject, and partly in memory of the children and of 
his favourite saint. It was as unaffected and as perfectly natural 
a little bow as ever man made. Immediately afterwards, he 
took his hat off altogether, and begged to introduce me to the 
next monument ; and his eyes and his teeth shone brighter than 
before. 



■*>£££ 



THROUGH BOLOGNA AND FERRARA. 

rpHERE was such a very smart official in attendance at the 
-*- Cemetery where the little Cicerone had buried his children, 
that when the little Cicerone suggested to me, in a whisper, that 
there would be no offence in presenting this officer, in return 
for some slight extra service, with a couple of pauls (about ten- 
pence, English money), I looked incredulously at his cocked-hat, 
wash-leather gloves, well-made uniform, and dazzling buttons, 
and rebuked the little Cicerone with a grave shake of the head. 
For, in splendour of appearance, he was at least equal to the 
Deputy Usher of the Black Rod ; and the idea of his carrying, 
as Jeremy Diddler would say, " such a thing as tenpence " away 
Avith him seemed monstrous. He took it in excellent part, how- 
ever, when I made bold to give it him, and pulled off his cocked- 
hat with a flourish that would have been a bargain at double 
the money. 

It seemed to be his duty to describe the monuments to the 
people — at all events he was doing so ; and when I compared 
him, like Gulliver in Brobdingnag, " with the Institutions of my 
own beloved country, I could not refrain from tears of pride and 
exultation." He had no pace at all ; no more than a tortoise. 
He loitered as the people loitered, that they might gratify their 
curiosity ; and positively allowed them, now and then, to read 
the inscriptions on the tombs. He was neither shabby, nor 
insolent, nor churlish, nor ignorant. He spoke his own Ian 
guage with perfect propriety, and seemed to consider himself, 
in his way, a kind of teacher of the people, and to entertain a 
just respect both for himself and them. They would no more 



376 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

have such a man for a Verger in Westminster Abbey than they 
would let the people in (as they do at Bologna.) to see the monu- 
ments for nothing.* 

Again, an ancient and sombre town, under the brilliant sky ; 
with heavy arcades over the footways of the older streets, and 
lighter and more cheerful archways in the newer portions of the 
town. Again, brown piles of sacred buildings, with more birds 
flying in and out of chinks in the stones ; and more snarling 
monsters for the bases of the pillars. Again, rich churches, 
drowsy masses, curling incense, tinkling bells, priests in bright 
vestments : pictures, tapers, laced altar cloths, crosses, images, 
and artificial flowers. 

There is a grave and learned air about the city, and a pleasant 
gloom upon it, that would leave it a distinct and separate impres- 
sion in the mind, among a crowd of cities, though it were not 
still further marked in the traveller's remembrance by the two 
brick leaning towers (sufficiently unsightly in themselves, it 
must be acknowledged), inclining crosswise as if they were bow- 
ing stiffly to each other — a most extraordinary termination to 
the perspective of some of the narrow streets. The colleges, 
and churches too, and palaces : and, above all, the Academy of 
Fine Arts, where there are a host of interesting pictures, especially 
by Guido, Domenichino, and Ltjdovico Caracci : give it a 
place of its own in the memoiy. Even though these were not, 
and there were nothing else to remember it by, the great Meridian 
on the pavement of the church of San Petronio, where the sun- 
beams mark the time among the kneeling people, would give it 
a fanciful and pleasant interest. 

Bologna being very full of tourists, detained there by an 
inundation which rendered the road to Florence impassable, I 
was quartered up at the top of an hotel, in an out-of-the-way 
room which I never could find : containing a bed big enough 
for a boarding-school, which I couldn't fall asleep in. The chief 

* A far more liberal and just recognition of the public has arisen in Westminster 
Abbey since this was written. 



£OlOgnA. 377 

among the waiters who visited this lonely retreat, where there 
was no other company but the swallows in the broad eaves over 
the window, was a man of one idea in connection with, the 
English ; and the subject of this harmless monomania was Lord 
Byron. I made the discovery by accidentally remarking to him, 
at breakfast, that the matting with which the floor was covered 
was very comfortable at that season, when he immediately 
replied that Milor Beeron had been much attached to that kind 
of matting. Observing, at the same moment, that I took no 
milk, he exclaimed with enthusiasm, that Milor Beeron had 
never touched it. At first, I took it for granted, in my inno- 
cence, that he had been one of the Beeron servants ; but no, he 
said no, he was in the habit of speaking about my Lord to 
English gentlemen ; that was all. He knew all about him, he 
said. In proof of it, he connected him with every possible topic, 
from the Monte Pulciano wine at dinner (which was grown on 
an estate he had owned), to the big bed itself, which was the 
very model of his. When I left the inn, he coupled with his 
final bow in the yard a parting assurance that the road by which 
I was going had been Milor Beeron's favourite ride ; and before 
the horses' feet had well begun to clatter on the pavement, he 
ran briskly up-stairs again, I dare say to tell some other English- 
man, in some other solitary room, that the guest who had just 
departed was Lord Beeron's living image. 

I had entered Bologna by night — almost midnight — and all 
along the road thither, after our entrance into the Papal terri- 
tory : which is not, in any part, supremely well governed, St. 
Peter's keys being rather rusty now : the driver had so worried 
about the danger of robbers in travelling after dark, and had so 
infected the Brave Courier, and the two had been so constantly 
stopping and getting up and down to look after a portmanteau 
which was tied on behind, that I should have felt almost obliged 
to any one who would have had the goodness to take it away. 
Hence it was stipulated that, whenever we left Bologna, we 
should start so as not to arrive at Ferrara later than eight at 



378 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

night ; and a delightful afternoon and evening journey it was, 
albeit through a flat district, which gradually became more 
marshy from the overflow of brooks and rivers in the recent 
heavy rains. 

At sunset, when I was walking on alone while the horses 
rested, I arrived upon a little scene, which, by one of those 
singular mental operations of which we are all conscious, seemed 
perfectly familiar to me, and which I see distinctly now. There 
was not much in it. In the blood-red light there was a mourn- 
ful sheet of water, just stirred by the evening wind ; upon it^ 
margin a few trees. In the foreground was a group of silent 
peasant girls leaning over the parapet of a little bridge, and 
looking, now up at the sky,, now down into the water ; in the 
distance, a deep bell ; the shadow of approaching night on 
everything. If I had been murdered there in some former life, I 
could not have seemed to remember the place more thoroughly, 
or with a more emphatic chilling of the blood ; and the real 
remembrance of it acquired in that minute is so strengthened 
by the imaginary recollection, that I hardly think I could 
forget it. 

More solitary, more depopulated, more deserted, old Ferrara, 
than any city of the solemn brotherhood ! The grass so grows 
up in the silent streets, that any one might make hay there, 
literally, while the sun shines. But the sun shines with 
diminished cheerfulness in grim Ferrara ; and the people are so 
few who pass and repass through the public places, that the 
flesh of its inhabitants might be grass indeed, and growing in 
the squares. 

I wonder why the head coppersmith in an Italian" town 
always lives next door to the Hotel, or opposite : making the 
visitor feel" as if the beating hammers were his own heart, palpi- 
tating with a deadly energy ! I wonder why jealous corridors 
surround the bedroom on all sides, and fill it with unnecessary 
doors that can't be shut, and will not open, and abut on pitchy 
darkness ! I wonder why it is not enough that these distrust- 



FERRAKA. 379 

fill genii stand agape at one's dreams all night, but there must 
also be round open port-holes, high in the wall, suggestive, when 
a mouse or rat is heard behind the wainscot, of a somebody- 
scraping the wall with his toes, in his endeavours to reach one 
of these port-holes and look in ! I wonder why the faggots are 
so constructed as to know of no effect but an agony of heat 
when they are lighted and replenished, and an agony of cold 
and suffocation at all other times ! I wonder, above all, why it 
is the great feature of domestic architecture in Italian inns that 
all the fire goes up the chimney, except the smoke ! 

The answer matters little. Coppersmiths, doors, port-holes, 
smoke, and faggots are welcome to me. Give me the smiling 
face of the attendant, man or woman ; the courteous manner ; 
the amiable desire to please and to be pleased : the light-hearted, 
pleasant, simple air — so many jewels set in dirt — and I am 
theirs again to-morrow ! 

Ariosto's house, Tasso's prison, a rare old Gothic cathedral, 
and more churches, of course, are the sights of Ferrara. But 
the long-silent streets, and the dismantled palaces, where ivy 
waves in lieu of banners, and where rank weeds are slowly creep- 
ing up the long-untrodden stairs, are the best sights of all. 

The aspect of this dreary town, half an hour before sunrise 
one fine morning, when I left it, was as picturesque as it seemed 
unreal and spectral. It was no matter that the people were not 
yet out of bed ; for, if they had all been up and busy, they 
would have made but little difference in that desert of a place. 
It was best to seeit without a single figure in the picture; a 
city of the dead, without one solitary survivor. Pestilence 
might have ravaged streets, squares, and market-places ; and 
sack and siege have ruined the old houses; battered down their 
doors and windows, and made breaches in their roofs. In one 
part a great tower rose into the air; the only landmark in the 
melancholy view. In another, a prodigious Castle, with a moat 
about it, stood aloof: a sullen city in itself. In the black 
dungeons of this castle, Parisina and her lover were beheaded 



380 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

in the dead of night. The red light, beginning to shine when 
I looked back upon it, stained its walls without, as they have, 
many a time, been stained within, in old days ; but, for any 
sign of life they gave, the castle and the city might have been 
avoided by all human creatures from the moment when the axe 
went down upon the last of the two lovers : and might have 
never vibrated to another sound 

Beyond the blow that to the block 

Pierced through -with forced and sullen shock. 

Coming to the Po, which was greatly swollen, and running 
fiercely, we crossed it by a floating bridge of boats, and so came 
into the Austrian territory, and resumed our journey : through 
a country of which, for some miles, a great part was under water. 
The Brave Courier and the soldiery had first quarrelled, for half 
an hour or more, over our eternal passport. But this was a 
daily relaxation with the Brave, who was always stricken deaf 
when shabby functionaries in uniform came, as they constantly 
did come, plunging out of wooden boxes to look at it — or, in 
other words, to beg — and who, stone deaf to my entreaties that 
the man might have a trifle given him, and we resume our 
journey in peace, was wont to sit reviling the functionary in 
broken English : while the unfortunate man's face was a portrait 
of mental agony framed in the coach window, from his perfect 
ignorance of what was being said to his disparagement. 

There was a Postillion, in the course of this day's journey, as 
wild and savagely good-looking a vagabond as you would desire 
to see. He was a tall, stout-made, dark-complexioned fellow, 
with a profusion of shaggy black hair hanging all over his face, 
and great black whiskers stretching down his throat. His dress 
was a torn suit of rifle green, garnished here and there with red ; 
a steeple-crowned hat, innocent of nap, with a broken and be- 
draggled feather stuck in the band ; and a flaming red necker- 
chief hanging on his shoulders. He was not in the saddle, 
but reposed, quite at his ease, on a sort of low foot-board in 



FERRARA. 38 T 

front of the post-chaise, down among the horses' tails — con- 
venient for having his brains kicked out at any moment. To 
this Brigand, the Brave Courier, when we were at a reasonable 
trot, happened to suggest the practicability of going faster. He 
received the proposal with a perfect yell of derision ; brandished 
his whip about his head (such a whip ! it was more like a home- 
made bow) ; flung up his heels much higher than the horses ; 
and disappeared, in a paroxysm, somewhere in the neighbour- 
hood of the axletree. I fully expected to see him lying in the 
road, a hundred yards behind, but up came the steeple-crowned 
hat again next minute, and he was seen reposing, as on a sofa, 
entertaining himself with the idea, and crying, " Ha, ha ! what 
next? Oh, the devil! Faster, too! Shoo — hoo — o — !" 
(This last ejaculation an inexpressibly defiant hoot.) Being 
anxious to reach our immediate destination that night, I ven- 
tured, by-and-by, to repeat the experiment on my own account. 
It produced exactly the same effect. Bound flew the whip with 
the same scornful flourish, up came the heels, down went the 
steeple-crowned hat, and presently he reappeared, reposing as 
before, and saying to himself, " Ha, ha ! what next ? Faster, 
too ! Oh, the devil ! Shoo — hoo — — 1" 



AN ITALIAN DREAM. 

T HAD been travelling for some days ; resting very little in 
*- the night, and never in the day. The rapid and unbroken 
succession of novelties that had passed before me came back 
like half-formed dreams: and a crowd of objects wandered in 
the greatest confusion through my mind, as I travelled on by a 
solitary road. At intervals, some one among them would stop, 
as it were, in its restless flitting to and fro, and enable me to 
look at it quite steadily, and behold it in full distinctness. 
After a few moments it would dissolve, like a view in a magic 
lantern ; and while I saw some part of it quite plainly, and 
some faintly, and some not at all, would show me another of 
the many places I had lately seen, lingering behind it, and 
coming through it. This was no sooner visible than, in its turn, 
it melted into something else. 

At one moment I was standing again before the brown old 
rugged churches of Modena. As I recognised the curious pillars 
with grim monsters for their bases, I seemed to see them, stand- 
ing by themselves in the quiet square at Padua, where there 
were the staid old University, and the figures demurely gowned, 
grouped here and there in the open space about it. Then, I 
was strolling in the outskirts of that pleasant city, admiring the 
unusual neatness of the dwelling-houses, gardens, and orchards, 
as I had seen them a few hours before. In their stead arose, 
immediately, the two towers of Bologna ; and the most obstinate 
of all these objects failed to hold its ground a minute, before 
the monstrous moated castle of Ferrara, which, like an illustra- 
tion to a wild romance, came back again in the red sunrise, 



AN ITALIAN DREAM. 383 

lording it over the solitary, grass-grown, withered town. In 
short, I had that incoherent, but delightful jumble in my brain, 
whieh travellers are apt to have, and are indolently willing to 
encourage. Every shake of the coach in which I sat, half dozing 
in the dark, appeared to jerk some new recollection out of its 
place, and to jerk some other new recollection into it ; and in 
this state I fell asleep. 

I was awakened after some time (as I thought) by the stopping 
of the coach. It was now quite night, and we were at the water- 
side. There lay here a black boat, with a little house or cabin 
in it of the same mournful colour. When I had taken my seat 
in this, the boat was paddled, by two men, towards a great 
light lying in the distance on the sea. 

Ever and again there was a dismal sigh of wind. It ruffled 
the water, and rocked the boat, and sent the dark clouds flying 
before the stars. I could not but think how strange it was to 
be floating away at that hour : leaving the land behind, and 
going on towards this light upon the sea. It soon began to 
burn brighter ; and, from being one light, became a cluster of 
tapers, twinkling and shining out of the water, as the boat 
approached towards them by a dreamy kind of track, marked 
out upon the sea by posts and piles. 

We had floated on, five miles or so, over the dark water, when 
I heard it rippling, in my dream, against some obstruction near 
at hand. Looking out attentively, I saw, through the gloom, a 
something black and massive — like a shore, but lying close and 
flat upon the water, like a raft — -which we were gliding past. 
The chief of the two rowers said it was a burial-place. 

Full of the interest and wonder which a cemetery lying out 
there, in the lonely sea, inspired, I turned to gaze upon it as it 
should recede in our path, when it was quickly shut out from 
my view. Before I knew by^ what, or how, I found that we 
were gliding up a street — a phantom street ; the houses rising 
on both sides from the water, and the black boat gliding on 
beneath their windows. Lights were shining from some of 



3 §4 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

these casements, plumbing the depth of the black stream with 
their reflected rays ; but all was profoundly silent. 

So we advanced into this ghostly city, continuing to hold our 
course through narrow streets and lanes, all filled and flowing with 
water. Some of the corners where our way branched off were 
so acute and narrow, that it seemed impossible for the long, 
slender boat to turn them ; but the rowers, with a low, melodious 
cry of warning, sent it skimming on without a pause. Some- 
times the rowers of another black boat like our own echoed the 
cry, and, slackening their speed (as I thought we did ours), 
would come flitting past us, like a dark shadow. Other boats, of 
the same sombre hue, were lying moored, I thought, to painted 
pillars, near to dark, mysterious doors that opened straight upon 
the water. Some of these were empty; in some the rowers 
lay asleep ; towards one I saw some figures coming down a 
gloomy archway from the interior of a palace : gaily dressed, 
and attended by torch-bearers. It was but a glimpse I had of 
them ; for a bridge so low and close upon the boat that it 
seemed ready to fall down and crush us : one of the many 
bridges that perplexed the Dream : blotted them out instantly. 
On we went, floating towards the heart of this strange place — 
with water all about us where never water was elsewhere — 
clusters of houses, churches, heaps of stately buildings growing 
out of it— and, everywhere, the same extraordinary silence. 
Presently, we shot across a broad and open stream ; and pass- 
ing, as I thought, before a spacious paved quay, where the 
bright lamps with which it was illuminated showed long rows of 
arches and pillars, of ponderous construction and great strength, 
but as light to the eye as garlands of hoar frost or gossamer — 
and where, for the first time, I saw people walking — arrived at 
a flight of steps leading from the water to a large mansion, 
where, having passed through corridors and galleries innumer- 
able, I lay down to rest ; listening to the black boats stealing 
up and down below the window on the rippling water till I fell 
asleep. 



AN ITALIAN DREAM. 385 

The glory of the day that broke upon me in this Dream ; its 
freshness, motion, buoyancy ; its sparkles of the sun in water ; 
its clear blue sky and rustling air ; no waking words can tell. 
But, from my window, I looked down on boats and barks ; on 
masts, sails, cordage, flags ; on groups of busy sailors working 
at the cargoes of these vessels ; on wide quays strewn with bales, 
casks, merchandise of many kinds ; on great ships lying near at 
hand in stately indolence ; on islands crowned with gorgeous 
domes and turrets ; and where golden crosses glittered in the 
light, atop of wondrous churches springing from the sea ! Going 
down upon the margin of the green sea, rolling on before the 
door, and filling all the streets, I came upon a place of such 
surpassing beauty, and such grandeur, that all the rest was poor 
and faded, in comparison with its absorbing loveliness. 

It was a great Piazza, as I thought ; anchored, like all the 
rest, in the deep ocean. On its broad bosom was a Palace, 
more majestic and magnificent in its old age than all the build- 
ings of the earth, in the high prime and fulness of their youth. 
Cloisters and galleries : so light, they might have been the work 
of fairy hands : so strong, that centuries had battered them in 
vain : wound round and round this palace, and enfolded it with 
a Cathedral, gorgeous in the wild luxuriant fancies of the East. 
At no great distance from its porch, a lofty tower standing by 
itself, and rearing its proud head, alone, into the sky, looked 
out upon the Adriatic Sea. Near to the margin of the stream 
were two ill-omened pillars of red granite ; one having on its 
top a figure with a sword and shield ; the other, a winged lion. 
Not far from these, again, a second tower : richest of the rich 
in all its decorations : even here, where all was rich : sustained 
aloft a great orb, gleaming with gold and deepest blue : the 
Twelve Signs painted on it, and a mimic sun revolving in its 
course around them : while above, two bronze giants hammered 
out the hours upon a sounding bell. An oblong square of lofty 
houses of the whitest stone, surrounded by a light and beautiful 
arcade, formed part of this enchanted scene ; and, here and 

c c 



386 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

there, gay masts for flags rose, tapering from the pavement of 
the unsubstantial ground. 

I thought I entered the Cathedral, and went in and out 
among its many arches : traversing its whole extent. A grand 
and dreamy structure, of immense proportions ; golden with old 
mosaics ; redolent of perfumes ; dim with the smoke of incense ; 
costly in treasure of precious stones and metals, glittering 
through iron bars ; holy with the bodies of deceased saints ; 
rainbow-hued with windows of stained glass ; dark with carved 
woods and coloured marbles ; obscure in its vast heights and 
lengthened distances ; shining with silver lamps and winking 
lights ; unreal, fantastic, solemn, inconceivable throughout. I 
thought I entered the old palace ; pacing silent galleries and 
council-chambers, where the old rulers of this mistress of the 
waters looked sternly out, in pictures, from the walls, and where 
her high-prowed galleys, still victorious on canvas, fought and 
conquered as of old. I thought I wandered through its halls 
of state and triumph — bare and empty now ! — and musing on 
its pride and might, extinct : for that was past ; all past : heard 
a voice say, " Some tokens of its ancient rule, and some con- 
soling reasons for its downfall, may be traced here yet!" 

I dreamed that I was led on, then, into some jealous rooms, 
communicating with a prison near the palace ; separated from it 
by a lofty bridge crossing a narrow street ; and called, I dreamed, 
The Bridge of Sighs. 

But first I passed two jagged slits in a stone wall ; the lions' 
mouths — now toothless — where, in the distempered horror of 
my sleep, I thought denunciations of innocent men to the old 
wicked Council had been dropped through, many a time, when 
the night was dark. So, when I saw the council-room to which 
such prisoners were taken for examination, and the door by 
which they passed out when they were condemned — a door that 
never closed upon a man with life and hope before him — my 
heart appeared to die within me. 

It was smitten harder though, when, torch in hand, I de- 



AN ITALIAN DREAM. 387 

scended from the cheerful day into two ranges, one below another, 
of dismal, awful, horrible stone cells. They were quite dark. 
Each had a loophole in its massive wall, where, in the old time, 
every day, a torch was placed — I dreamed — to light the prisoner 
within for half an hour. The captives, by the glimmering of 
these brief rays, had scratched and cut inscriptions in the 
blackened vaults. I saw them. For their labour with a rusty 
nail's point had outlived their agony and them, through many 
generations. 

One cell I saw, in which no man remained for more than 
four-and-twenty hours ; being marked for dead before he entered 
it. Hard by, another, and a dismal one, whereto, at midnight, 
the confessor came — a monk brown-robed, and hooded — ghastly 
in the day, and free bright air, but, in the midnight of that 
murky prison, Hope's extinguisher, and Murder's herald. I 
had my foot upon the spot where, at the same dread hour, 
the shriven prisoner was strangled ; and struck my hand upon 
the guilty door — -low-browed and stealthy — through which the 
lumpish sack was carried out into a boat, and rowed away, and 
drowned where it was death to cast a net. 

Around this dungeon stronghold, and above some part of it : 
licking the rough walls without, and smearing them with damp 
and slime within : stuffing dank weeds and refuse into chinks 
and crevices, as if the very stones and bars had mouths to stop : 
furnishing a smooth road for the removal of the bodies of the 
secret victims of the state — a road so ready that it went along 
with them, and ran before them, like a cruel officer — flowed the 
same water that filled this Dream of mine, and made it seem 
one, even at the time. 

Descending from the palace by a staircase, called, I thought, 
the Giant's — I had some imaginary recollection of an old man 
abdicating, coming, more slowly and more feebly, down it, when 
he heard the bell proclaiming his successor — I glided off, in one 
of the dark boats, until we came to an old arsenal guarded by 
four marble lions. To make my Dream more monstrous and 

cc2 



3 88 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

unlikely, one of these had words and sentences upon its body, 
inscribed there at an unknown time, and in an unknown lan- 
guage ; so that their purport was a mystery to all men. 

There was little sound of hammers in this place for building 
ships, and little work in progress ; for the greatness of the city 
was no more, as I have said. Indeed, it seemed a very Avreck 
found drifting on the sea ; a strange flag hoisted in its honour- 
able stations, and strangers standing at its helm. A splendid 
barge, in which its ancient chief had gone forth, pompously, at 
certain periods, to wed the ocean, lay here, I thought, no more ; 
but, in its place, there was a tiny model, made from recollection 
like the city's greatness ; and it told of what had been (so are 
the strong and weak confounded in the dust) almost as eloquently 
as. the massive pillars, arches, roofs, reared to overshadow stately 
ships that had no other shadow now, upon the water or the 
earth. 

An armoury was there yet. Plundered and despoiled ; but 
an armoury. With a fierce standard, taken from the Turks, 
drooping in the dull air of its cage. Rich suits of mail worn 
by great warriors were hoarded there ; crossbows and bolts ; 
quivers full of arrows ; spears ; swords, daggers, maces, shields, 
and heavy-headed axes. Plates of wrought steel and iron, to 
make the gallant horse a monster cased in metal scales ; and 
one spring weapon (easy to be carried in the breast) designed 
to do its office noiselessly, and made for shooting men with 
poisoned darts. 

One press or case I saw full of accursed instruments of torture: 
horribly contrived to cramp, and pinch, and grind, and crush 
men's bones, and tear and twist them with the. torment of a 
thousand deaths. Before it were two iron helmets, with breast- 
pieces : made to close up tight and smooth upon the heads of 
living sufferers; and fastened on to each was a small knob or 
anvil, where the directing devil could repose his elbow at his 
ease, and listen, near the walled-up ear, to the lamentations and 
confessions of the wretch within. There was that grim resem- 



AN ITALIAN DREAM. 389 

blance in. them to the human shape — they were such moulds of 
sweating faces, pained and cramped — that it was difficult to 
think them empty ; and terrible distortions lingering within 
them seemed to follow me, when, taking to my boat again, I 
rowed off to a kind of garden or public walk in the sea, where 
there were grass and trees. But I forgot them when I stood 
upon its farthest brink — I stood there in my dream — and 
looked, along the ripple, to the setting sun ; before me, in the 
sky and on the deep, a crimson flush ; and behind me the whole 
city resolving into streaks of red and purple on the water. 

In the luxurious wonder of so rare a dream, I took but little 
heed of time, and had but little understanding of its flight. 
But there were days and nights in it; and when the sun was 
high, and when the rays of lamps were crooked in the running 
water, I was still afloat, I thought : plashing the slippery walls 
and houses with the cleavings of the tide, as my black boat, 
borne upon it, skimmed along the streets. 

Sometimes, alighting at the doors of churches and vast 
palaces, I wandered on, from room to room, from aisle to aisle, 
through labyrinths of rich altars, ancient monuments ; decayed 
apartments where the furniture, half awful, half grotesque, was 
mouldering away. Pictures were there, replete with such 
enduring beauty and expression : with such passion, truth, and 
power : that they seemed so many young and fresh realities 
among a host of spectres. I thought these often intermingled 
with the old days of the city : with its beauties, tyrants, captains, 
patriots, merchants, courtiers, priests : nay, with its very stones, 
and bricks, and public places ; all of which lived again, about 
me, on the walls. Then, coming down some marble staircase 
where the water lapped and oozed against the lower steps, I 
passed into my boat again, and went on in my dream. 

Floating down narrow lanes, where carpenters, at work with 
plane and chisel in their shops, tossed the light shaving straight 
upon the water, where it lay like weed, or ebbed away before 
me in a tangled heap. Past open doors, decayed and rotten 



3Q6 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

from long steeping in the wet, through which some scanty 
patch of vine shone green and bright, making unusual shadows 
on the pavement with its trembling leaves. Past quays and 
terraces, where women, gracefully veiled, were passing and 
repassing, and where idlers were reclining in the sunshine, on 
flagstones and on flights of steps. Past bridges, where there 
were idlers too : loitering and looking over. Below stone 
balconies, erected at a giddy height, before the loftiest windows 
of the loftiest houses. Past plots of garden, theatres, shrines, 
prodigious piles of architecture — Gothic — Saracenic — fanciful 
with all the fancies of all times and countries. Past buildings 
that were high, and low, and black, and white, and straight, 
and crooked ; mean and grand, crazy and strong. Twining 
among a tangled lot of boats and barges, and shooting out at 
last into a Grand Canal ! There, in the errant fancy of my 
dream, I saw old Shylock passing to and fro upon a bridge, all 
built upon with shops and humming with the tongues of men ; 
a form I seemed to know for Desdemona's^ leaned down through 
a latticed blind to pluck a flower. And, in the dream, I thought 
that Shakspeare's spirit was abroad upon the water somewhere : 
stealing through the city. 

At night, when two votive lamps burnt before an image of 
the Virgin, in a gallery outside the great cathedral, near the 
roof, I fancied that the great piazza of the Winged Lion was a 
blaze of cheerful light, and that its whole arcade was thronged 
with people ; while crowds were diverting themselves in splendid 
coffee-houses opening from it — which were never shut, I thought, 
but open all night long. When the bronze giants struck the 
hour of midnight on the bell, I thought the life and animation 
of the city were all centred here ; and as I rowed away, abreast 
the silent quays, I only saw them dotted, here and there, with 
sleeping boatmen wrapped up in their cloaks, and lying at full 
length upon the stones. 

But, close about the quays and churches, palaces and prisons : 
sucking at their walls, and welling up into the secret places of 



AN ITALIAN DREAM. 3gi 

the town : crept the water always. Noiseless and watchful : 
coiled round and round it, in its many folds, like an old 
serpent : waiting for the time, I thought, when 'people should 
look down into its depths for any stone of the old city that had 
claimed to be its mistress. 

Thus it floated me away, until I awoke in the old Market- 
place at Verona. I have, many and many a time, thought since 
of this strange Dream upon the water : half wondering if it lie 
there yet, and if its name be Venice. 



/ 



BY VERONA, MANTUA, AND MILAN, ACROSS THE 
PASS OF THE SIMPLON INTO SWITZERLAND. 

T HAD been half afraid to go to Verona, lest it should at all 
put me out of conceit with Romeo and Juliet. But, I was 
no sooner come into the old Market-place than the misgiving 
vanished. It is so fanciful, quaint, and picturesque a place, 
formed by such an extraordinary and rich variety of fantastic 
buildings, that there could be nothing better at the core of even 
this romantic town : scene of one of the most romantic and 
beautiful of stories. 

It was natural enough to go straight from the Market-place 
to the House of the Capulets, now degenerated into a most 
miserable little inn. Noisy vetturini and muddy market-carts 
Avere disputing possession of the yard, which was ankle deep in 
dirt, with a brood of splashed and bespattered geese ; and there 
was a grim-visaged dog, viciously panting in a doorway, who 
would certainly have had Romeo by the leg, the moment he put 
it over the wall, if he had existed and been at large in those 
times. The orchard fell into other hands, and was parted off 
many years ago ; but there used to be one attached to the house 
— or at all events there may have been — and the hat (Cappello) 
the ancient cognizance of the family, may still be seen, carved in 
stone, over the gateway of the yard. The geese, the market- 
carts, their drivers, and the dog were somewhat in the way of 
the story, it must be confessed ; and it would have been 
pleasanter to have found the house empty, and to have been 
able to walk through the disused rooms. But the hat was 
unspeakably comfortable ; and the place where the garden used 



VERCttfA. 393 

to be, hardly less so. Besides, the house is* a distrustful, jealous- 
looking house as one would desire to see, though of a very 
moderate size. So I was quite satisfied with it, as the veritable 
mansion of old Capulet, and was correspondingly grateful in my 
acknowledgments to an extremely unsentimental middle-aged 
lady, the Padrona of the Hotel, who was lounging on the 
threshold looking at the geese ; and who at least resembled the 
Capulets in the one particular of being very great indeed in the 
" Family" way. 

From Juliet's home to Juliet's tomb is a transition as natural 
to the visitor as to fair Juliet herself, or to the proudest Juliet 
that ever has taught the torches to burn bright in any time. 
So, I went off, with a guide, to an old, old garden, once belong- 
ing to an old, old convent, I suppose ; and being admitted, 
at a shattered gate, by a bright-eyed woman who was washing 
clothes, went down some walks where fresh plants and young 
flowers were prettily growing among fragments of old wall and 
ivy-covered mounds • and was shown a little tank, or water 
trough, which the bright-eyed woman, drying her arms upon 
her kerchief, called " La tomba di Giulietta la sfortunata." With 
the best disposition in the world to believe, I could do no more 
than believe that the bright-eyed woman believed ; so I gave 
her that much credit, and her customary fee in ready money. 
It was a pleasure, rather than a disappointment, that Juliet's 
resting-place was forgotten. However consolatory it may have 
been to Yorick's ghost to hear the feet upon the pavement over- 
head, and, twenty times a day, the repetition of his name, it is 
better for Juliet to lie out of the track of tourists, and to have 
no visitors but such as come to graves in spring rain, and sweet 
air, and sunshine. 

Pleasant Verona ! With its beautiful old palaces, and charm- 
ing country in the distance, seen from terrace walks, and stately, 
baiustraded galleries. With its Roman gates, still spanning the 
fair street, and casting, on the sun-light of to-day, the shade of 
fifteen hundred years ago. With its marble-fitted churches, 



394 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

lofty towers, rich architecture, and quaint old quiet thorough- 
fares, where shouts of Montagues and Capulets once resounded, 

And made Verona's ancient citizens 
Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments, 
To wield old partisans. 

With its fast-rushing river, picturesque old bridge, great castle, 
waving cypresses, and prospect so delightful and so cheerful! 
Pleasant Verona ! 

In the midst of it, in the Piazza di Br£ — a spirit of old time 
among the familiar realities of the passing hour — is the great 
Eoman Amphitheatre. So well preserved and carefully main- 
tained, that every row of seats is there unbroken. Over certain 
of the arches, the old Roman numerals may yet be seen ; and 
there are corridors, and staircases, and subterranean passages for 
beasts, and winding ways, above-ground and below, as when the 
fierce thousands hurried in and out, intent upon the bloody 
shows of the arena. Nestling in some of the shadows and 
hollow places of the walls, now, are smiths with their forges, 
and a few small dealers of one kind or other ; and there are 
green weeds, and leaves, and grass upon the parapet. But little 
else is greatly changed. 

When I had traversed all about it with great interest, and 
had gone up to the topmost round of seats, and, turning from 
the lovely panorama closed in by the distant Alps, looked down 
into the building, it seemed to lie before me like the inside of 
a prodigious hat of plaited straw, with an enormously broad 
brim and a shallow crown : the plaits being represented by the 
four-and-forty rows of seats. The comparison is a homely and 
fantastic one, in sober remembrance and on paper, but it was 
irresistibly suggested at the moment, nevertheless. 

An equestrian troop had been there a short time before — the 
same troop, I dare say, that appeared to the old lady in the 
church at Modena — and had scooped out a little ring at one end 
of the arena ; where their performances had taken place, and 
where the marks of their horses' feet were still fresh. I could 



VERONA. 395 

not but picture to myself a handful of spectators gathered 
together on one or two of the old stone seats, and a spangled 
Cavalier being gallant, or a Policinello funny, with the grim walls 
looking on. Above all, I thought how strangely those Roman 
mutes would gaze upon the favourite comic scene of the travelling 
English, where a British nobleman (Lord John), with a very 
loose stomach : dressed in a blue tailed coat down to his heels, 
bright yellow breeches, and a white hat : comes abroad, riding 
double on a rearing horse, with an English lady (Lady Betsey) 
in a straw bonnet and green veil, and a red spencer ; and who 
always carries a gigantic reticule, and a put-up parasol. 

I walked through and through the town all the rest of the 
day, and could have walked there until now, I think. In one 
place there was a very pretty modern theatre, where they had 
just performed the opera (always popular in Verona) of Romeo 
and Juliet. In another there was a collection, under a colonnade, 
of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan remains, presided over by an 
ancient man who might have been an Etruscan relic himself ; for 
he was not strong enough to open the iron gate when he had 
unlocked it, and had neither voice enough to be audible when 
he described the curiosities, nor sight enough to see them : he 
was so very old. In another place there was a gallery of pic- 
tures : so abominably bad, that it was quite delightful to see 
them mouldering away. But anywhere : in the churches, among 
the palaces, in the streets, on the bridge, or down beside the 
river : it was always pleasant Yerona, and in my remembrance 
always will be. 

I read Romeo and Juliet in my own room at the inn that 
night — of course, no Englishman had ever read it there before 
— and set out for Mantua next day at sunrise, repeating to 
myself (in the coupe - of an omnibus, and next to the conductor, 
who was reading the Mysteries of Paris), 

There is no world without Verona's walls, 
But purgatory, torture, hell itself. 
Hence-banished is hanish'd from the world, 
And world's exile is death 



3g6 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

which reminded me that Komeo was only banished five-and- 
twenty miles after all, and rather disturbed my confidence in his 
energy and boldness. 

Was the way to Mantua as beautiful in his time, I wonder ? 
Did it wind through pasture land as green bright with the same 
glancing streams, and dotted with fresh clumps of graceful trees ? 
Those purple mountains lay on the horizon then, for certain ; 
and the dresses of these peasant girls, who wear a great, knobbed, 
silver pin like an English " life-preserver" through their hair 
behind, can hardly be much changed. The hopeful feeling 
of so bright a morning, and so exquisite a sunrise, can have 
been no stranger, even to an exiled lover's breast ; and Mantua 
itself must have broken on him in the prospect, with its 
towers, and walls, and water, pretty much as on a commonplace 
and matrimonial omnibus. He made the same sharp twists 
and turns, perhaps, over two rumbling drawbridges ; passed 
through the like long, covered, wooden bridge ; and, leaving the 
marshy water behind, approached the rusty gate of stagnant 
Mantua. 

If ever a man were suited to his place of residence, and his 
place of residence to him, the lean Apothecary and Mantua came 
together in a perfect fitness of things. It may have been more 
stirring then, perhaps. If so, the Apothecary was a man in 
advance of his time, and knew what Mantua would be in eighteen 
hundred and forty-four. He fasted much, and that assisted him 
in his foreknowledge. 

I put up at the Hotel of the Golden Lion, and was in my own 
room arranging plans with the Brave Courier, when there came 
a modest little tap at the door, which opened on an outer gallery 
surrounding a courtyard ; and an intensely shabby little man 
looked in, to inquire if the gentleman would have a Cicerone to 
show the town. His face was so very wistful and anxious, in 
the half-opened doorway, and there was so much poverty 
expressed in his faded suit and little pinched hat, and in the 
threadbare worsted glove with which he held it — not expressed 



MANTUA. 397 

the less, because these were evidently his genteel clothes, hastily 
slipped on — that I would as soon have trodden on him as dis- 
missed him. I engaged him on the instant, and he stepped in 
directly. 

While I finished the discussion in which I was engaged, he 
stood, beaming by himself in a corner, making a feint of brushing 
my hat with his arm. If his fee had been as many napoleons 
as it was francs, there could not have shot over the twilight of 
his shabbiness such a gleam of sun as lighted up the whole man, 
now that he was hired. 

" Well ! " said I, when I was ready, " shall we go out now ? " 

" If the gentleman pleases. It is a beautiful day. A little 
fresh, but charming ; altogether charming. The gentleman will 
allow me to open the door. This is the Inn Yard. The court- 
yard of the Golden Lion ! The gentleman will please to mind 
his footing on the stairs." 

We were now in the street. 

" This is the street of the Golden Lion. This, the outside of 
the Golden Lion. The interesting window up there, on the first 
Piano, where the pane of glass is broken, is the window of the 
gentleman's chamber ! " 

Having viewed all these remarkable objects, I inquired if there 
were much to see in Mantua. 

" Well ! Truly, no. Not much ! So, so," he said, shrugging 
his shoulders apologetically. 

" Many churches ? " 

" No. Nearly all suppressed by the French." 

" Monasteries or convents ? " 

" No. The French again ! Nearly all suppressed by Napo- 
leon." 

" Much business ? " 

" Very little business." 

" Many strangers ? " 

"Ah Heaven!" 

I thought he would have fainted. 



398 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

"Then, when we have seen the two large Churches yonder, 
what shall we do next ? " said I. 

He looked up the street, and down the street, and rubbed his 
chin timidly ; and then said, glancing in my face as if a light had 
broken on his mind, yet with a humble appeal to my forbearance 
that was perfectly irresistible : 

" We can take a little turn about the town, Signore ! " (Si 
pu6 far' un piccolo giro della citta.) 

It was impossible to be anything but delighted with the pro- 
posal, so we set off together in great gdod-humour. In the relief 
of his mind, he opened his heart, and gave up as much of 
Mantua as a Cicerone could. 

"One must eat," he said; "but, bah ! it was a dull place, 
without doubt ! " 

He made as much as possible of the Basilica of Santa Andrea 
-~-a noble church — and of an enclosed portion of the pavement, 
about which tapers were burning, and a few people kneeling, and 
under which is said to be preserved the Sangreal of the old 
Eomances. This church disposed of, and another after it (the 
Cathedral of San Pietro), we went to the Museum, which was 
shut up. " It was all the same," he said. " Bah ! There was 
not much inside ! " Then, we went to see the Piazza del Dia- 
volo, built by the Devil (for no particular purpose) in a single 
night ; then, the Piazza Yirgiliana ; then, the statue of Yirgil — 
our Poet, my little friend said, plucking up a spirit for the 
moment, and putting his hat a little on one side. Then, we 
went to a dismal sort of farmyard, by which a picture-gallery 
was approached. The moment the gate of this retreat was 
opened, some five hundred geese came waddling round us, 
stretching out their necks, and clamouring in the most hideous 
manner, as if they were ejaculating, " Oh ! here's somebody 
come to see the Pictures ! Don't go up ! Don't go up ! " While 
we went up, they waited very quietly about the door in a crowd, 
cackling to one another occasionally in a subdued tone ; but, the 
instant we appeared again, their necks came out like telescopes, 



MANTUA. 3Q9 

and setting up a great noise, which meant, I have no doubt, 
" What, you would go, would you ? What do you think of it ? 
How do you like it ? " they attended us to the outer gate, and 
cast us forth, derisively, into Mantua. 

The geese who saved the Capitol were, as compared with 
these, Pork to the learned Pig. What a gallery it was ! I 
would take their opinion on a question of art, in preference to 
the discourses of Sir Joshua Reynolds. 

Now that we were standing in the street, after being thus 
ignominiously escorted thither, my little friend was plainly 
reduced to the " piccolo giro," or little circuit of the town, he 
had formerly proposed. But my suggestion that we should 
visit the Palazzo Te (of which I had heard a great deal, as a 
strange wild place) imparted new life to him, and away we went. 

The secret of the length of Midas's ears would have been 
more extensively known, if that servant of his, who whispered 
it to the reeds, had lived in Mantua, where there are reeds and 
rushes enough to have published it to all the world. The 
Palazzo Te stands in a swamp, among this sort of vegetation ; 
and is, indeed, as singular a place as I ever saw. 

Not for its dreariness, though it is very dreary. Nor for its 
dampness, though it is very damp. Nor for its desolate con- 
dition, though it is as desolate and neglected as house can be. 
But chiefly for the unaccountable nightmares with which its 
interior has been decorated (among other subjects of more 
delicate execution) by Giulio Romano. There is a leering Giant 
over a certain chimney-piece, and there are dozens of Giants 
(Titans warring with Jove) on the walls of another room, so 
inconceivably ugly and grotesque, that it is marvellous how any 
man can have imagined such creatures. In the. chamber in 
which they abound, these monsters, with swollen faces and 
cracked cheeks, and every kind of distortion of look and limb, 
are depicted as staggering under the weight of falling buildings, 
and being overwhelmed in the ruins ; upheaving masses of rock, 
and burying themselves beneath ; vainly striving to sustain the 



4°° PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

pillars of heavy roofs that topple down upon their heads ; and, 
in a word, undergoing and doing every kind of mad and 
demoniacal destruction. The figures are immensely large, 
and exaggerated to the utmost pitch of uncouthness ; the 
colouring is harsh and disagreeable ; and the whole effect more 
like (I should imagine) a violent rush of blood to the head of 
the spectator, than any real picture set before him by the hand 
of an artist. This apoplectic performance was shown by a sickly- 
looking woman, whose appearance was referable, I dare say, to 
the bad air of the marshes ; but it was difficult to help feeling 
as if she were too much haunted by the Giants, and they were 
frightening her to death, all alone in that exhausted cistern of 
a Palace, among the reeds and rushes, with the mists hovering 
about outside, and stalking round and round it continually. 

Our walk through Mantua showed us, in almost every street, 
some suppressed church : now used for a warehouse, now for 
nothing at all : all as crazy and dismantled as they could be, 
short of tumbling down bodily. The marshy town was so 
intensely dull and flat, that the dirt upon it seemed not to 
have come there in the ordinary course, but to have settled 
and mantled on its surface as on standing water. And yet 
there were some business dealings going on, and some profits 
realising ; for there were arcades full of Jews, where those 
extraordinary people were sitting outside their shops, con- 
templating their stores of stuffs, and woollens, and bright hand- 
kerchiefs, and trinkets ; and looking, in all respects, as wary 
and business-like as their brethren in Houndsditch, London. 

Having selected a Vetturino from among the neighbouring 
Christians, who agreed to carry us to Milan in two days and a 
half, and to start, next morning, as soon as the gates were 
opened, I returned to the Golden Lion, and dined luxuriously 
in my own room, in a narrow passage between two bedsteads : 
confronted by a smoky fire, and backed up by a chest of drawers. 
At six o'clock next morning we were jingling in the dark 
through the wet, cold mist that enshrouded the town ; and, 



MILAN. 40 1 

T>efore noon, the driver (a native of Mantua, and sixty years of 
age, or thereabouts) began to ask the way to Milan. 

It lay through Bozzolo ; formerly a little republic, and now 
' one of the most deserted and poverty-stricken of towns : where 
the landlord of the miserable inn (God bless him ! it was his 
weekly custom) was distributing infinitesimal coins among a 
clamorous herd of women and children, whose rags were flutter- 
ing in the wind and rain outside his door, where they were 
gathered to receive his charity. - It lay through mist, and mud, 
and rain, and- vines trained low upon the ground, all that day 
and the next ; the first sleeping-place being Cremona, memorable 
for its dark brick churches, and immensely high tower, the 
Torrazzo — to say nothing of its violins, of which it certainly 
produces none in these degenerate days ; and the second, Jjodi. 
Then we went on, through more mud, mist, and rain, and marshy 
ground : and through such a fog as Englishmen, strong in the 
faith of their own grievances, are apt to believe is nowhere to 
be found but in their own country, until we entered the paved 
streets of Milan. 

The fog was so dense here, that the spire of the far-famed 
Cathedral might as well have been at Bombay, for anything that 
could be seen of it at that time. But as we halted to refresh, 
for a few days then, and returned to Milan again next summer, 
I had ample opportunities of seeing the glorious structure in all 
its majesty and beauty. 

All Christian homage to the saint who lies within it ! There 
are many" good and true saints in the calendar, but San Carlo 
Borromeo has — if I may quote Mrs. Primrose on such a subject 
— "my warm heart." A charitable doctor to the sick, a muni- 
ficent friend to the poor, and this not in any spirit of blind 
bigotry, but as the bold opponent of enormous abuses- in the 
Romish church, I honour his memory. I honour it none the 
less because he was nearly slain by a priest, suborned by priests 
to murder him at the altar : in acknowledgment of his endea- 
vours to reform a false and hypocritical brotherhood of monks. 



402 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

Heaven shield all imitators of San Carlo Borromeo as it shielded 
him! A reforming Pope would need a little shielding, even 
now. 

The subterranean chapel in which the body of San Carlo 
Borromeo is preserved, presents as striking and as ghastly a 
contrast, perhaps, as any place can show. The tapers which 
are lighted down there, flash and gleam on alti-rilievi in gold 
and silver, delicately wrought by skilful hands, and representing 
the principal events in the life of the saint. Jewels, and pre- 
cious metals, shine and sparkle on every side. A windlass 
slowly removes the front of the altar; and within it, in a 
gorgeous shrine of gold and silver, is seen, through alabaster, 
the shrivelled mummy of a man ; the pontifical robes with 
which it is adorned radiant with diamonds, emeralds, rubies : 
every costly and magnificent gem. The shrunken heap of poor 
earth in the midst of this great glitter is more pitiful than if it 
lay upon a dunghill. There is not a ray of imprisoned light in 
all the flash and fire of jewels, but seems to mock the dusty 
holes where eyes were once. Every thread of silk in the rich 
vestments seems only a provision from the worms that spin, for 
the behoof of worms that propagate in sepulchres. 

In the old refectory of the dilapidated Convent of Santa 
Maria delle Grazie is the work of art, perhaps better known than 
any other in the world : the Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci 
— with a door cut through it by the intelligent Dominican friars, 
to facilitate their operations at dinner-time; 

I am not mechanically acquainted with the art of painting, 
and have no other means of judging of a picture than as I see 
it resembling and refining upon nature, and presenting graceful 
combinations of forms and colours. I am, therefore, no autho- 
rity whatever in reference to the "touch" of this or that 
master ; though I know very well (as anybody may, who chooses 
to think about the matter) that few very great masters can 
possibly have painted, in the compass of their lives, one half 
of the pictures that bear their names, and that are recognised, 



MILAtf. 463 

by nlany aspirants to a reputation for taste, as undoubted 
originals. But this by the way. Of the Last Supper I would 
simply observe, that in its beautiful composition and arrange- 
ment, there it is, at Milan, a wonderful picture ; and that, in its 
original colouring, or in its original expression of any single 
face or feature, there it is not. Apart from the damage it has 
sustained from damp, decay, or neglect, it has been (as Barry 
shows) so retouched upon, and repainted, and that so clumsily, 
that many of the heads are, now, positive deformities, with 
patches of paint and plaster sticking upon them like wens, and 
utterly distorting the expression. Where the original artist set 
that impress of his genius on a face, which, almost in a line or 
touch, separated him from meaner painters, and made him what 
he was, succeeding bunglers, filling up, or painting across seams 
and cracks, have been quite unable to imitate his hand ; and 
putting in some scowls, or frowns, or wrinkles of their own, 
have blotched and spoiled the work. This is so well established 
as an historical fact, that I should not repeat it, at the risk of 
being tedious, but for having observed an English gentleman 
before the picture, who was at great pains to fall into what I 
may describe as mild convulsions, at certain minute details of 
expression which are not left in it. Whereas, it would be com- 
fortable and rational for travellers and critics to arrive at a 
general understanding that it cannot fail to have been a work 
of extraordinary merit once ; when, with so few of its original 
beauties remaining, the grandeur of the general design is yet 
sufficient to sustain it as a piece replete with interest and 
dignity. 

We achieved the other sights of Milan in due course, and a 
fine city it is, though not so unmistakably Italian as to possess 
the characteristic qualities of many towns far less important 
in themselves. The Corso, where the Milanese gentry ride up 
and down in carriages, and rather than not do which they 
would half starve themselves at home, is a most noble public 
promenade, shaded by long avenues of trees. In the splendid 

dd2 



4«4 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

theatre of La Scala there was a ballet of action performed after 
the opera, under the title of Prometheus : in the beginning of 
which, some hundred or two of men and women represented 
our mortal race before the refinements of the arts and sciences, 
and loves and graces, came on earth to soften them. I never 
saw anything more effective. Generally speaking, the panto- 
mimic action of the Italians is more remarkable for its sudden 
and impetuous character than for its delicate expression ; but, 
in this case, the drooping monotony : the weary, miserable, 
listless, moping life : the sordid passions and desires of human 
creatures, destitute of those elevating influences to which we 
owe so much, and to whose promoters we render so little : were 
expressed in a manner really powerful and affecting. I should 
have thought it almost impossible to present such an idea so 
strongly on the stage, without the aid of speech. 

Milan soon lay behind us, at five o'clock in the morning ; 
and before the golden statue on the summit of the cathedral 
spire was lost in the blue sky, the Alps, stupendously confused 
in lofty peaks and ridges, clouds and snow, were towering in 
our path. 

Still, we continued to advance towards them until nightfall ; 
and, all day long, the mountain-tops presented strangely shifting 
shapes, as the road displayed them in different points of view. 
The beautiful day was just declining when we came upon the 
Lago Maggiore, with its lovely islands. Tor, however fanciful 
and fantastic the Isola Bella may be, and is, it still is beautiful. 
Anything springing out of that blue water, with that scenery 
around it, must be. 

It was ten o'clock at night when we got to Porno d'Ossola, 
at the foot of the Pass of the Simplon. But as the moon was 
shining brightly, and there was not a cloud in the starlit sky, it 
'was no time for going to bed, or going anywhere, but on. So, 
we got a little carriage after some delay, and began the ascent. 

It was late in November ; and the snow lying four or five 
feet thick in the beaten road on the summit (in other parts the 



PASS OF THE SIMPLON. 405 

new drift was already deep), the air was piercing cold. But, the 
serenity of the night, and the grandeur of the road, with its 
impenetrable shadows, and deep glooms, and its sudden turns 
into the shining of the moon, and its incessant roar of falling 
water, rendered the journey more and more sublime at every 
step. 

Soon leaving the calm Italian villages below us sleeping in 
the moonlight, the road began to wind among dark trees, and 
after a time emerged upon a barer region, very steep and toil- 
some, where the moon shone bright and high. By degrees, the 
roar of water grew louder ; and the stupendous track, after cross- 
ing the torrent by a bridge, struck in between two massive 
perpendicular walls of rock that quite shut out the moonlight, 
and only left a few stars shining in the narrow strip of sky 
above. Then, even this was lost in the thick darkness of a 
cavern in the rock, through which the way was pierced ; the 
terrible cataract thundering and roaring close below it, and 
its foam and spray hanging, in a mist, about the entrance. 
Emerging from this cave, and coming again into the moonlight, 
and across a dizzy bridge, it crept and twisted upward, through 
the Gorge of Gondo, savage and grand beyond description, with 
smooth-fronted precipices rising up on either hand, and almost 
meeting overhead. Thus we went, climbing on our rugged way, 
higher and higher all night, without a moment's weariness : lost 
in the contemplation of the black rocks, the tremendous heights 
and depths, the fields of smooth snow lying in the clefts and 
hollows, and the fierce torrents thundering headlong down the 
deep abyss. 

Towards daybreak we came among the snow, where a keen 
wind was blowing fiercely. Having, with some trouble, awakened 
the inmates of a wooden house in this solitude : round which 
the wind was howling dismally, catching up the snow in wreaths, 
and hurling it away : we got some breakfast in a room built of 
rough timbers, but well warmed by a stove, and well contrived 
(as it had need to be) for keeping out the bitter storms. A 



406 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

sledge being then made ready, and four horses harnessed to it; 
we went ploughing through the snow. Still upward, but now 
in the cold light of morning, and with the great white desert on 
which we travelled plain and clear. 

We were well upon the summit of the mountain : and had 
before us the rude cross of wood, denoting its greatest altitude 
above the sea : when the light of the rising sun struck, all at 
once, upon the waste of snow, and turned it a deep red. The 
lonely grandeur of the scene was then at its height. 

As we went sledging on, there came out of the Hospice 
founded by Napoleon a group of Peasant travellers, with staves 
and knapsacks, who had rested there last night : attended by a 
Monk or two, their hospitable entertainers, trudging slowly 
forward with them, for company's sake. It was pleasant to give 
them good morning, and pretty, looking back a long way after 
them, to see them looking back at us, and hesitating presently, 
when one of our horses stumbled and fell, whether or no they 
should return and help us. But he was soon up again, with 
the assistance of a rough waggoner whose team had stuck fast 
there too ; and when we had helped him out of his difficulty, 
in return, we left him slowly ploughing towards them, and went 
softly and swiftly forward, on the brink of a steep precipice, 
among the mountain pines. 

Taking to our wheels again soon afterwards, we began rapidly 
to descend ; passing under everlasting glaciers, by means of 
arched galleries, hung with clusters of dripping icicles ; under 
and over foaming water-falls ; near places of refuge, and galleries 
of shelter against sudden danger ; through caverns over whose 
arched roofs the avalanches slide in spring, and bury themselves 
in the unknown gulf beneath. Down, over lofty bridges, and 
through horrible ravines : a little shifting speck in the vast 
desolation of ice and snow, and monstrous granite rocks : down 
through the deep Gorge of the Saltine, and deafened by the 
torrent plunging madly down, among the riven blocks of rock, 
into the level country far below. Gradually down, by zigzag 



GLIMPSES OF SWITZERLAND. 40 7 

roads, lying between an upward and a downward precipice, into 
warmer weather, calmer air, and softer scenery, until there lay 
before us, glittering like gold or silver in the thaw and sunshine, 
the metal-covered, red, green, yellow domes and church spires 
of a Swiss town. 

The business of these recollections being with Italy, and my 
business, consequently, being to scamper back thither as fast as 
possible, I will not recall (though I am sorely tempted) how the 
Swiss villages, clustered at the feet of Giant mountains, looked 
like playthings ; or how confusedly the houses were heaped and 
piled together ; or how there were very narrow streets to shut 
the howling winds out in the winter-time ; and broken bridges, 
which the impetuous torrents, suddenly released in spring, had 
swept away. Or how there were peasant women here, with 
great round fur caps : looking, when they peeped out of case- 
ments and only their heads were seen, like a population of 
Sword-bearers to the Lord Mayor of London ; or how the town 
of Vevay, lying on the smooth Lake of Geneva, was beautiful to 
see ; or how the statue of St. Peter, in the street at Fribourg, 
grasps the largest key that ever was beheld ; or how Fribourg 
is illustrious for its two suspension bridges, and its grand cathe- 
dral organ. 

Or how, between that town and Bale, the road meandered 
among thriving villages of wooden cottages, with overhanging 
thatched roofs, and low protruding windows, glazed with small 
round panes of glass like crown-pieces ; or how, in every little 
Swiss homestead, with its cart or waggon carefully stowed away 
beside the house, its little garden, stock of poultry, and groups 
of red-cheeked children, there was an air of comfort, very new 
and very pleasant after Italy ; or how the dresses of the women 
changed again, and there were no more sword-bearers to be 
seen ; and fair white stomachers, and great black, fan-shaped, 
gauzy-looking caps prevailed instead. 

Or how the country by the Jura Mountains, sprinkled with 
snow, and lighted by the moon, and musical with falling water, 



403 . PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

was delightful ; or how, below the windows of the great hotel 
of the Three Kings at Bale, the swollen Khine ran fast and 
green ; or how, at Strasbourg, it was quite as fast, but not as 
green : and was said to be foggy lower down : and, at that late 
time of the year, was a far less certain means of progress than 
the highway road to Paris. 

Or how Strasbourg itself, in its magnificent old Gothic Cathe-' 
dral, and its ancient houses with their peaked roofs and gables, 
made a little gallery of quaint and interesting views ; or how a 
crowd was gathered inside the cathedral at noon, to see the 
famous mechanical clock in motion, striking twelve. How, 
when it struck twelve, a whole army of puppets went through 
many ingenious evolutions ; and, among them, a huge puppet- 
cock, perched on the top, crowed twelve times, loud and clear. 
Or how it was wonderful to see this cock at great pains to clap 
its wings, and strain its throat ; but obviously haviDg no con- 
nection whatever with its own voice; which was deep within 
the clock, a long way down. 

Or how the road to Paris was one sea of mud ; and thence 
to the coast, a little better for a hard frost. Or how the cliffs 
of Dover were a pleasant sight, and England was so wonderfully 
neat — though dark, and lacking colour on a winter's day, it 
must be conceded. 

Or how, a few days afterwards, it was cool, recrossing the 
Channel, with ice upon the decks, and snow lying pretty deep 
in France. Or how the Malle Poste scrambled through the 
snow, headlong, drawn in the hilly parts by any number of 
stout horses at a canter ; or how there were, outside the Post 
Office Yard in Paris, before daybreak, extraordinary adventurers 
in heaps of rags, groping in the snowy streets with little rakes, 
in search of odds and ends. 

Or how, between Paris and Marseilles, the snow being then 
exceeding deep, a thaw came on, and the mail waded rather 
than rolled for the next three hundred miles or so ; breaking 
springs on Sunday' nights, and putting out its two passengers 




THE CHIFFONIKk 



MARSEILLES TO GENOA. 409 

to warm and refresh themselves, pending the repairs, in miser- 
able billiard-rooms, where hairy company, collected about stoves, 
were playing cards ; the cards being very like themselves — 
extremely limp and dirty. 

. Or how there was detention at Marseilles from stress of 
weather ; and steamers were advertised to go, which did not 
go ; or how the good steam-packet Charlemagne at length put 
out, and met such weather that now she threatened to run into 
Toulon, and now into Nice, but, the wind moderating, did 
neither, but ran on into Genoa harbour instead, where the 
familiar Bells rang sweetly in my ear. Or how there was a 
travelling party on board, of whom one member was very ill in 
the cabin next to mine, and, being ill, was cross, and therefore 
declined to give up the Dictionary, which he kept under his 
pillow ; thereby obliging his companions to come down to him 
constantly, to ask what was the Italian for a lump of sugar — a 
glass of brandy-and-water — what's o'clock ? and so forth : which 
he always insisted on looking out with his own sea-sick eyes, 
declining to intrust the book to any man alive. 

Like Grumio, I might have told you, in detail, all this and 
something more — but to as little purpose — were I not deterred 
by the remembrance that my business is with Italy. There- 
fore, like Grumio's story, it " shall die in oblivion.'' 



TO ROME BY PISA AND SIENA. 

rFHERE is nothing in Italy more beautiful to me than the 
x coast road between Genoa and Spezzia. On one side : 
sometimes far below, sometimes nearly on a level with the road, 
and often skirted by broken rocks of many shapes : there is the 
free blue sea, with here and there a picturesque felucca gliding 
slowly on ; on the other side are lofty hills, ravines besprinkled 
with white cottages, patches of dark olive woods, country 
churches with their light open towers, and country houses gaily 
painted. On every bank and knoll by the wayside, the wild 
cactus and aloe flourish in exuberant profusion ; and the gardens 
of the bright villages along the road are seen, all blushing in 
the summer-time with clusters of the belladonna, and are 
fragrant in the autumn and winter with golden oranges and 
lemons. 

Some of the villages are inhabited, almost exclusively, by 
fishermen ; and it is pleasant to see their great boats hauled up 
on the beach, making little patches of shade, where they lie 
asleep, or where the women and children sit romping and 
looking out to sea, while they mend their nets upon the shore. 
There is one town, Camoglia, with its little harbour on the sea, 
hundreds of feet below the road : where families of mariners 
live, who, time out of mind, have owned coasting vessels in that 
place, and have traded to Spain and elsewhere. Seen from the 
road above, it is like a tiny model on the margin of the dimpled 
water, shining in the Sun. Descended into by the winding 
mule tracks, it is a perfect miniature of a primitive seafaring 
town ; the saltest, roughest, most piratical little place that ever 



CAMOGLIA. 411 

was seen. Great rusty iron rings and mooring chains, capstans, 
and fragments of old masts and spars, choke up the way ; hardy 
rough-weather boats, and seamen's clothing, flutter in the little 
harbour, or are drawn out on the sunny stones to dry ; on the 
parapet of the rude pier a few amphibious-looking fellows lie 
asleep, with their legs dangling over the wall, as though earth or 
water were all one to them, and if they slipped in, they would 
float away, dozing comfortably among the fishes ; the church 
is bright with trophies of the sea, and votive offerings, in com- 
memoration of escape from storm and shipwreck. The dwell- 
ings not immediately abutting on the harbour are approached 
by blind low archways, and by crooked steps, as if in darkness 
and in difficulty of access they should be like holds of ships, or 
inconvenient cabins under water ; and everywhere there is a 
smell of fish, and seaweed, and old rope. 

The coast road, whence Camoglia is descried so far below, is 
famous in the warm season, especially in some parts near Genoa, 
for fire-flies. Walking there on a dark night, I have seen it 
made one sparkling firmament by these beautiful insects ; so 
that the distant stars were pale against the flash and glitter 
that spangled every olive wood and hill-side, and pervaded the 
whole air. 

It was not in such a season, however, that we traversed this 
road on our way to Rome. The middle of January was only 
just past, and it was very gloomy and dark weather ; very wet 
besides. In crossing the fine Pass of Bracco, we encountered 
such a storm of mist and rain, that we travelled in a cloud the 
whole way. There might have been no Mediterranean in the 
world, for anything we saw of it there, except when a sudden 
gust of wind, clearing the mist before it for a moment, showed 
the agitated sea at a great depth below, lashing the distant 
rocks, and spouting up its foam furiously. The rain was inces- 
sant ; every brook and torrent was greatly swollen ; and such a 
deafening leaping, and roaring, and thundering of water, I never 
heard the like of in my life. 



412 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

Hence, when we came to Spezzia, we found that the Magra, 
an unbridged river on the high-road to Pisa, was too high to be 
safely crossed in the Ferry Boat, and were fain to wait until the 
afternoon of next day, when it had, in some degree, subsided. 
Spezzia, however, is a good place to tarry at ; by reason, firstly, 
of its beautiful bay ; secondly, of its ghostly Inn ; thirdly, of the 
head-dress of the women, who wear, on one side of their head, a 
small doll's straw hat, stuck on to the hair ; which is certainly 
the oddest and most roguish head-gear that ever was invented. 

The Magra safely crossed in the Ferry Boat — the passage is 
not by any means agreeable when the current is swollen and 
strong — we arrived at Carrara within a few hours. In good 
time next morning we got some ponies, and went out to see the 
marble quarries. 

They are four or five great glens, running up into a range of 
lofty hills, until they can run no longer, and are stopped by 
being abruptly strangled by Nature. The quarries, or " caves," 
as they call them there, are so many openings, high up in the 
hills, on either side of these passes, where they blast and exca- 
vate for marble : which may turn out good or bad : may make 
a man's fortune very quickly, or ruin him by the great expense 
of working what is worth nothing. Some of these caves were 
opened by the ancient Komans, and remain as they left them to 
this hour. Many others are being worked at this moment : 
others are to be begun to-morrow, next week, next month ; 
others are unbonght, unthought of ; and marble enough for more 
ages than have passed since the place was resorted to, lies hidden 
everywhere : patiently awaiting its time of discovery. 

As you toil and clamber up one of these steep gorges (having 
left your pony soddening his girths in water, a mile or two lower 
down) you hear, every now and then, echoing among the hills, 
in a low tone, more silent than the previous silence, a melan- 
choly warning bugle, — a signal to the miners to withdraw. 
Then, there is a thundering, and echoing from hill to hill, and 
perhaps a splashing up of great fragments of rock into the air ; 



CARRARA. _ 413 

and on you toil again until some other bugle sounds in a new 
direction, and you stop directly, lest you should come within the 
range of the new explosion. 

There were numbers of men, working high up in these hills 
■ — on the sides — clearing away, and sending down the broken 
masses of stone and earth, to make way for the blocks of marble 
that had been discovered. As these came rolling down from 
unseen hands into the narrow valley, I could not help thinking 
of the deep glen (just the same sort of glen) where the Hoc left 
Sinbad the Sailor ; and where the merchants, from the heights 
above, flung down great pieces of meat for the diamonds to stick 
to. There were no eagles here to darken the sun in their swoop, 
and pounce upon them ; but it was as wild and fierce as if there 
had been hundreds. 

But the road, the road down which the marble comes, how- 
ever immense the blocks ! The genius of the country, and the 
spirit of its institutions, pave that road : repair it, watch it, keep 
it going ! Conceive a channel of water running over a rocky 
bed, beset with great heaps of stone of all shapes and sizes, 
winding down the middle of this valley ; and that being the 
road — because it was the road five hundred years ago ! Imagine 
the clumsy carts of five hundred years ago being used to this 
hour, and drawn, as they used to be five hundred years ago, by 
oxen, whose ancestors were worn to death five hundred years 
ago, as their unhappy descendants are now, in twelve months, 
by the suffering and agony of this cruel work ! Two pair, four 
pair, ten pair, twenty pair, to one block, according to its size ; 
down it must come, this way. In their struggling from stone 
to stone, with their enormous loads behind them, they die 
frequently upon the spot ; and not they alone ; for their passionate 
drivers, sometimes tumbling down in their energy, are crushed 
to death beneath the wheels. But it was good five hundred 
years ago, and it must be good now : and a railroad down one 
of these steeps (the easiest thing in the world) would be flat 
blasphemy. 



AH PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

When we stood aside, to see one of these cars drawn by Only 
a pair of oxen (for it had but one small block of marble on it) 
coming down, I hailed, in my heart, the man who sat upon the 
heavy yoke, to keep it on the neck of the poor beasts — and who 
faced backward : not before him — as the very Devil of true 
despotism. He had a great rod in his hand, with an iron point ; 
and when they could plough and force their way through the 
loose bed of the torrent no longer, and came to a stop, he poked 
it into their bodies, beat it on their heads, screwed it round and 
round in their nostrils, got them on a yard or two in the 
madness of intense pain ; repeated all these persuasions, with 
increased intensity of purpose, when they stopped again ; got 
them on once more ; forced and goaded them to an abrupter 
point of the descent ; and when their writhing and smarting, 
and the weight behind them, bore them plunging down the 
precipice in a cloud of scattered water, whirled his rod above 
his head, and gave a great whoop and halloo, as if he had 
achieved something, and had no idea that they might shake 
him off, and blindly mash his brains upon the road, in the noon- 
tide of his triumph. 

Standing in one of the many studii of Carrara that afternoon 
— for it is a great workshop, full of beautifully-fmished copies in 
marble of almost every figure, group, and bust we know — it 
seemed, at first, so strange to me that those exquisite shapes, 
replete with grace, and thought, and delicate repose, should grow 
out of all this toil, and sweat, and torture ! But I soon found 
a parallel to it, and an explanation of it, in every virtue that 
springs up in miserable ground, and every good thing that has 
its birth in sorrow and distress. And, looking out of the sculp- 
tor's great window upon the marble mountains, all red and 
glowing in the decline of day, but stern and solemn to the last, 
I thought, My God ! how many quarries of human hearts and 
souls, capable of far more beautiful results, are left shut up and 
mouldering away : while pleasure-travellers through life avert 
their faces as they pass, and shudder at the gloom and rugged- 
ness that conceal them ! 



CARRARA. 415 

The then reigning Duke of Modena, to whom this territory in 
part belonged, claimed the proud distinction of being the only- 
sovereign in Europe who had not recognised Louis Philippe as 
King of the French ! He was not a wag, but quite in earnest. 
He was also much opposed to railroads ; and if certain lines in 
contemplation by other potentates, on either side of him, had 
been executed, would have probably enjoyed the satisfaction 
of having an omnibus plying to and fro, across his not very 
vast dominions, to forward travellers from one terminus to 
another. 

Carrara, shut in by great hills, is very picturesque and bold. 
Few tourists stay there ; and the people are nearly all connected, 
in one way or other, with the working of marble. There are 
also villages among the caves, where the workmen live. It 
contains a beautiful little Theatre, newly built : and it is an 
interesting custom there to form the chorus of labourers in the 
marble quarries, who are self-taught and sing by ear. I heard 
them in a comic opera, and in an act of Norina ; and they 
acquitted themselves very well ; unlike the common people of 
Italy generally, who (with some exceptions among the Neapoli- 
tans) sing vilely out of tune, and have very disagreeable singing 
voices. 

From the summit of a lofty hill beyond Carrara, the first view 
of the fertile plain in which the town of Pisa lies — with Leghorn, 
a purple spot in the flat distance — is enchanting. Nor is it 
only distance that lends enchantment to the view ; for the 
fruitful country, and rich woods of olive-trees through which 
the road subsequently passes, render it delightful. 

The moon was shining when we approached Pisa, and for a 
long time we could see, behind the wall, the leaning Tower, all 
awry in the uncertain light ; the shadowy original of the old 
pictures in school-books, setting forth " The Wonders of the 
World." Like most things connected in. their first associations 
with school-books and school-times, it was too small. I felt it 
keenly. It was nothing like so high above the wall as I had 



41 6 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

hoped. It was another of the many' deceptions practised by 
Mr. Harris, Bookseller, at the corner of St. Paul's Churchyard, 
London. His Tower was a fiction, but this was reality — and, 
by comparison, a short reality. Still, it looked very well, and 
very strange, and was quite as much out of the perpendicular as 
Harris had represented it to be. The quiet air of Pisa, too ; the 
big guard-house at the gate, with only two little soldiers in it ; 
the streets, with scarcely any show of people in them ; and the 
■Arno, flowing quaintly through the centre of the town ; were 
excellent. So, I bore no malice in my heart against Mr. Harris 
(remembering his good intentions), but forgave' him before 
dinner, and went out, full of confidence, to see the Tower next 
morning. 

I might have known better ; but, somehow, I had expected to 
see it casting its long shadow on a public street where people 
came and went all day. It was a surprise to me to find it in a 
grave, retired place, apart from the general resort, and carpeted 
with smooth green turf. But, the group of buildings clustered 
on and about this verdant carpet ■: comprising the Tower, the 
Baptistery, the Cathedral, and the Church of the Campo Santo : 
is perhaps the most remarkable^ and beautiful in the whole 
world ; and, from being clustered there together, away from the 
ordinary transactions and details of the town, they have a singu- 
larly venerable and impressive character. It is the architectural 
•essence of a rich old city, with all its common life and common 
'habitations pressed out, and filtered away. 

Simond compares the Tower to the usual pictorial representa- 
tions in children's books of the Tower of Babel. It is a happy 
'simile, and conveys a better idea of the building than chapters 
of laboured description. Nothing can exceed the grace and 
lightness of the structure ; nothing can be more remarkable than 
its general appearance. In the course of the ascent to the top 
(which is by an easy staircase), the inclination is not very appa- 
rent ; but, at the summit, it becomes so, and gives one the sen- 
sation of being in a ship that has heeled over, through the action 



MSA. 41 •} 

of an ebb tide. The effect upon the low side, so to speak — 
looking over from the gallery, and seeing the shaft recede to its 
base — is very startling ; and I saw a nervous traveller hold on 
to the Tower involuntarily, after glancing down, as if he had 
some idea of propping it up. The view within, from the ground 
• — looking up, as through a slanted tube — is also very curious. 
It certainly inclines as much as the most sanguine tourist could 
desire. The natural impulse of ninety-nine people out of a 
hundred, who were about to recline upon the grass below it to 
rest, and contemplate the adjacent buildings, would probably be, 
not to take up their position under the leaning side ; it is so 
very much aslant. 

The manifold beauties of the Cathedral and Baptistery need 
no recapitulation from me ; though in this case, as in a hundred 
others, I find it difficult to separate my own delight in recalling 
them from your weariness in having them recalled. There is a 
picture of St. Agnes, by Andrea del Sarto, in the former, and 
there are a variety of rich columns in the latter, that tempt me 
strongly. 

It is, I hope, no breach of my resolution not to be tempted 
into elaborate descriptions, to remember the Campo Santo ; 
where grass-grown graves are dug in earth brought more than 
six hundred years ago from the Holy Land ; and where there 
are, surrounding them, such cloisters, with such playing lights 
and shadows falling through their delicate tracery on the stone 
pavement, as surely the dullest memory could never forget. On 
the walls of this solemn and lovely place are ancient frescoes, 
very much obliterated and decayed, but very curious. As 
usually happens in almost any collection of paintings, of any 
sort, in Italy, where there are many heads, there is, in one of 
them, a striking accidental likeness of Napoleon. At one time} 
I used to please my fancy with the speculation whether these 
old painters, at their work, had a foreboding knowledge of the 
man who would one day arise to wreak such destruction upon 
art : whose soldiers would make targets of great pictures, and 

E E 



4*8 FICTURES FROM ITALY. 

stable their horses among triumphs of architecture. But the 
same Corsican face is so plentiful in some parts of Italy at this 
day, that a more commonplace solution of the coincidence is 
unavoidable. 

If Pisa be the seventh wonder of the world in right of its 
Tower, it may claim to be, at least, the second or third in right 
of its beggars. They waylay the unhappy visitor at every turn, 
escort him to ■every door he enters at, and lie in wait for him, 
with strong reinforcements, at every door by which they know 
he must come out. The grating of the portal on its hinges is 
the signal for a general shout, and the moment he appears, he 
is hemmed in, and fallen on, by heaps of rags and personal dis- 
tortions. The beggars seem to embody all the trade and enter- 
prise of Pisa. Nothing else is stirring but warm air. Going 
through the streets, the fronts of the sleepy houses look like 
backs. They are all so still and quiet, and unlike houses with 
people in them, that the greater part of the city has the appear- 
ance of a city at daybreak, or during a general siesta of the popu- 
lation. Or it is yet more like those backgrounds of houses in 
common prints, or old engravings, where windows and doors are 
squarely indicated, and one figure (a beggar of course) is seen 
walking off by itself into illimitable perspective. 

Not so Leghorn (made illustrious by Smollett's grave) : 
which is a thriving, business-like, matter-of-fact place, where 
idleness is shouldered out of the way by commerce. The regu- 
lations observed there, in reference to trade and merchants, are 
very liberal and free ; and the town, of course, benefits by them. 
Leghorn has a bad name in connection with stabbers, and with 
some justice, it must be allowed ; for, not many years ago, there 
was an assassination club there, the members of which bore 
no ill-will to anybody in particular, but stabbed people (quite 
strangers to them) in the streets at night, for the pleasure and 
excitement of the recreation. I think the president of this 
amiable society was a shoemaker. He was taken, however, and 
the club was broken up. It would probably have disappeared 



SIENA. 419 

in the natural course of events, before the railroad between 
Leghorn and Pisa, which is a good one, and has already begun 
to astonish Italy with a precedent of punctuality, order, plain 
dealing, and improvement — the most dangerous and heretical 
astonisher of all. There must have been a slight sensation, as 
of earthquake, surely, in the Vatican, when the first Italian rail- 
road was thrown open. 

Keturning to Pisa, and hiring a good-tempered Vetturino, 
and his four horses, to take us on to Rome, we travelled through 
pleasant Tuscan villages and cheerful scenery all day. The road- 
side crosses in this part of Italy are numerous and curious. 
There is seldom a figure on the cross, though there is sometimes 
a face ; but they are remarkable for being garnished with little 
models, in wood, of every possible object that can be connected 
with the Saviour's death. The cock that crowed when Peter 
had denied his Master thrice is usually perched on the tiptop ; 
and an ornithological phenomenon he generally is. Under him 
is the inscription. Then, hung on to the crossbeam, are the 
spear, the reed with the sponge of vinegar and water at the 
end, the coat without seam for which the soldiers cast lots, 
the dice-box with which they threw for it, the hammer that 
drove in the nails, the pincers that pulled them out, the ladder 
which was set against the cross, the crown of thorns, the instru- 
ment of flagellation, the lantern with which Mary went to the 
tomb (I suppose), and the SAvord with which Peter smote 
the servant of the high priest, — a perfect toy-shop of little 
objects, repeated at every four or five miles, all along the high- 
way. 

On the evening of the second day from Pisa we reached the 
beautiful old city of Siena. There was what they called a Car- 
nival in progress ; but, as its secret lay in a score or two of 
melancholy people walking up and down the principal street in 
common toy-shop masks, and being more melancholy, if possible, 
than the same sort of people in England, I say no more of it. 
We went off betimes, next morning, to see the Cathedral, which 

£ e2 



420 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

is wonderfully picturesque inside and out, especially the latter — 
also the market-place, or great Piazza, which is a large square, 
with a great broken-nosed fountain in it : some quaint Gothic 
houses : and a high square brick tower ; outside the top of 
which — a curious feature in such views in Italy— hangs an 
enormous bell. It is like a bit of Venice, without the water. 
There are some curious old Palazzi in the town, which is 
very ancient; and without having (for me) the interest of 
Verona or Genoa, it is very dreamy and fantastic, and most 
interesting. 

We went on again as soon as we had seen these things,' and 
going over a rather bleak country (there had been nothing but 
vines until now : mere walking-sticks at that season of the year), 
stopped, as usual, between one and two hours in the middle of 
the day, to rest the horses ; that being a part of every Vetturino 
contract. We then went on again, through a region gradually 
becoming bleaker and wilder, until it became as bare and deso- 
late as any Scottish moors. Soon after dark we halted for the 
night, at the osteria of La Scala : a perfectly lone house, where 
the family were sitting round a great fire in the kitchen, raised 
on a stone platform three or four feet high, and big enough for 
the roasting of an ox. On the upper, and only other floor of 
this hotel, there was a great wild rambling sala, with one very 
little window in a by-corner, and four black doors opening into 
four black bedrooms in various directions. To say nothing of 
another large black door, opening into another large black sala, 
with the staircase coming abruptly through a kind of trap-door 
in the floor, and the rafters of the roof looming above : a sus- 
picious little press skulking in one obscure corner : and all the 
knives in the house lying about in various directions. The fire- 
place was of the purest Italian architecture, so that it was per- 
fectly impossible to see it for the smoke. The waitress was like 
a dramatic brigand's wife, and wore the same style of dress upon 
her head. The dogs barked like mad ; the echoes returned the 
compliments bestowed upon them ; there was not another house 



OSTERIA OF LA SCALA, 4ZI 

within twelve miles ; and things had a dreary, and rather a cut- 
throat, appearance. 

They were not improved by rumours of robbers having come 
out, strong and boldly, within a few nights ; and of their having 
stopped the mail very near that place. They were known to have 
waylaid some travellers not long before, on Mount Vesuvius 
itself, and were the talk at all the roadside inns. As they were 
no business of ours, however (for we had very little with us to 
lose), we made ourselves merry on the subject, and were very 
soon as comfortable as need be. We had the usual dinner in this 
solitary house ; and a very good dinner it is, when you are used 
to it. There is something with a vegetable or some rice in it, 
which is a sort of shorthand or arbitrary character for soup, and 
which tastes very well, when you have flavoured it with plenty 
of grated cheese, lots of salt, and abundance of pepper. There 
is the half fowl of which this soup has been made. There is a 
stewed pigeon, with the gizzards and livers of himself and other 
birds stuck all round him. There is a bit of roast beef, the size 
of a small French roll. There are a scrap of Parmesan cheese, 
and five little withered apples, all huddled together on a small 
plate, and crowding one upon the other, as if each were trying 
to save itself from the chance of being eaten. Then there is 
coffee ; and then there is bed. You don't mind brick floors ; 
you don't mind yawning doors, nor banging windows ; you don't 
mind your own horses being stabled under the bed : and so 
close that, every time a horse coughs or sneezes, he wakes you. 
If you are good-humoured to the people about you, and speak 
pleasantly, and look cheerful, take my word for it you may be 
well entertained in the very worst Italian Inn, and always in 
the most obliging manner, and may go from one end of the 
country to the other (despite all stories to the contrary) with- 
out any great trial of your patience anywhere. Especially, when 
you get such wine in flasks as the Orvieto and the Monte 
Pulciano. 

It was a bad morning when we left this place ; and we went, 



422 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

for twelve miles, over a country as barren, as stony, and as wild 
as Cornwall in England, until we came to Radicofani, where 
tliere is a ghostly, goblin inn : once a hunting-seat, belonging 
to, the Dukes of Tuscany. It is full of such rambling corridors 
and gaunt rooms, that all the murdering and phantom tales that 
ever were written might have originated in that one house. 
There are some horrible old Palazzi in Genoa : one in particular, 
not unlike it, outside : but there is a windy, creaking, wormy, 
rustling, door-opening, foot-on-staircase-falling character about 
this Radicofani Hotel, such as I never saw anywhere else. The 
town, such as it is, hangs on a hill-side above the house, and in 
front of it. The inhabitants are all beggars ; and, as soon as 
they see a carriage coming, they swoop down upon it, like so 
many birds of prey. 

When we got on the mountain pass which lies beyond this 
place, the wind (as they had forewarned us at the inn) was so 
terrific, that we were obliged to take my other half out of the 
carriage, lest she should be blown over, carriage and all, and to 
hang to it, on the windy side (as well as we could for laughing), 
to prevent its going, Heaven knows where. For mere force of 
wind, this land storm might have competed with an Atlantic 
gale, and had a reasonable chance of coming off "victorious. The 
blast came sweeping down great gullies in a range of mountains 
on the right : so that we looked with positive awe at a great 
morass on the left, and saw that there was not a bush or twig 
to hold by. It seemed as if, once blown from our feet, Ave must 
be swept out to sea, or away into space. There was snow, and 
hail, and rain, and lightning, and thunder; and there were 
rolling mists, travelling with incredible velocity. It was dark, 
awful, and solitary to the last degree ; there were mountains 
above mountains, veiled in angry clouds ; and there was such 
a wrathful, rapid, violent, tumultuous hurry everywhere, as 
rendered the scene unspeakably exciting and grand. 

It was a relief to get out of it, notwithstanding ; and to cross 
even the dismal, dirty Papal Frontier. After passing through 



A SCENE OF DESOLATION. 423 

two little towns ; in one of which, Acquapendente, there was 
also a " Carnival " in progress : consisting of one man dressed 
and masked as a woman, and one woman dressed and masked 
as a man, walking, ankle deep, through the muddy streets, in a 
very melancholy manner : we came, at dusk, within sight of the 
Lake of Bolsena, on whose bank there is a little town of the 
same name, much celebrated for malaria. With the exception 
of this poor place, there is not a cottage on the banks of the 
lake, or near it (for nobody dare sleep there) ; not a boat upon 
its waters ; not a stick or stake to break the dismal monotony 
of seven-and-twenty watery miles. We were late in getting in, 
the roads being very bad from heavy rains ; and, after dark, the 
dulness of the scene was quite intolerable. 

We entered on a very different and a finer scene of desolation, 
next night, at sunset. We had passed through Montefiaschone 
(famous for its wine) and Viterbo (for its fountains) : and, after 
climbing up a long hill of eight or ten miles extent, came 
suddenly upon the margin of a solitary lake : in one part very 
beautiful, with a luxuriant wood ; in another, very barren, and 
shut in by bleak volcanic hills. Where this lake flows, there 
stood, of old, a city. It was swallowed up one day ; and, in its 
stead, this water rose. There are ancient traditions (common 
to many parts of the world) of the ruined city having been seen 
below, when the water was clear ; but, however that may be, 
from this spot of earth it vanished. The ground came bubbling 
up above it ; and the water too ; and here they stand, like ghosts 
on whom the other world closed suddenly, and who have no 
means of getting back again. They seem to be waiting the 
course of ages, for the next earthquake in that place; when 
they will plunge below the ground at its first yawning, and be 
seen no more. The unhappy city below is not more lost and 
dreary than these fire-charred hills and the stagnant water 
above. The red sun looked strangely on them, as with the 
knowledge that they were made for caverns and darkness ; and 
the melancholy water oozed and sucked the mud, and crept 



4?"4 PICTURES' FROM ITALY. 

quietly among the marshy grass and reeds, as if the overthrow 
of all the ancient towers and housetops, and the death of all the 
ancient people born and bred there, were yet heavy on its 
conscience. 

A short ride from this lake brought us to Konciglione ; a 
little town like a large pigsty, where we passed the night. Next 
morning, at seven o'clock, we started for Rome. 

As soon as we were out of the pigsty, we entered on the 
Campagna Romana ; an undulating flat (as you know), where 
few people can live : and where, for miles and miles, there is 
nothing to relieve the terrible monotony and gloom. Of all 
kinds of country that could, by possibility, lie outside the 
gates of Rome, this is the aptest and fittest burial-ground for 
the Dead City. So sad, so quiet, so sullen ; so secret in its 
covering up of great masses of ruin, and hiding them ; so like 
the waste places into which the men possessed with devils used 
to go and howl, and rend themselves, in the old days of Jeru- 
salem. We had to traverse thirty miles of this Campagna ; and 
for two-and-twenty we went on and on, seeing nothing but now 
and then a lonely house, or a villainous-looking shepherd, with 
matted hair all over his face, and himself wrapped to the chin 
in a frouzy brown mantle, tending his sheep. At the end of 
that distance, we stopped to refresh the horses, and to get some 
lunch, in a common malaria-shaken, despondent little public- 
house, whose every inch of wall and beam, inside, was (accordi 
ing to custom) painted and decorated in a way so miserable that 
every room looked like the wrong side of another room, and, 
with its wretched imitation of drapery, and lop-sided little 
daubs of lyres, seemed to have been plundered from behind the 
scenes of some travelling circus. 

When we were fairly off again, we began, in a perfect fever, 
to strain our eyes for Rome ; and when, after another mile 
or two, the Eternal City appeared, at length, in the distance, 
it looked like — I am half afraid to write the word — like 
LONDON ! ! ! There it lay, under a thick cloud, with innu- 



CAMPAGNA ROM AN A. 425 

merable towers, and steeples, and roofs of houses, rising up 
into the sky, and, high above them all, one Dome. I swear, 
that keenly as I felt the seeming absurdity of the comparison, 
it was so like London, at that distance, that if you could 
have shown it me in a glass, I should have taken it for nothing 
else. 



ROME. 

~V\7"E entered the Eternal City at about four o'clock in the 
afternoon, on the thirtieth of January, by the Porta del 
Popolo, and came immediately — it was a dark, muddy day, and 
there had been heavy rain — on the skirts of the Carnival. We 
did not, then, know that we were only looking at the fag-end of 
the masks, who were driving slowly round and round the Piazza, 
until they could find a promising opportunity for falling into the 
stream of carriages, and getting, in good time, into the thick of 
the festivity : and coming among them so abruptly, all travel- 
stained and weary, was not coming very well prepared to enjoy 
the scene. 

We had crossed the Tiber by the Ponte Molle, two or three 
miles before. It had looked as yellow as it ought to look, and, 
hurrying on between its worn-away and miry banks, had a pro- 
mising aspect of desolation and ruin. The masquerade dresses 
on the fringe of the Carnival did great violence to this promise. 
There were no great ruins, no solemn tokens of antiquity to be 
seen ; — they all lie on the other side of the city. There seemed 
to be long streets of commonplace shops and houses, such as 
are to be found in any European town ; there were busy people, 
equipages, ordinary walkers to and fro ; a multitude of chatter- 
ing strangers. It was no more my Rome ; the Rome of 
anybody's fancy, man or boy : degraded and fallen, and lying 
asleep in the sun among a heap of ruins : than the Place de la 
Concorde in Paris is. A cloudy sky, a dull cold rain, and muddy 
streets, I was prepared for, but not for this : and I confess to 
having gone to bed, that night, in a very indifferent humour, 
and with a very considerably quenched enthusiasm. 



ROME. 427 

Immediately on going out next day, we hurried off to St. 
Peter's. It looked immense in the distance, but distinctly and 
decidedly small, by comparison, on a near approach. The beauty 
of the Piazza in which it stands, with its clusters of exquisite 
columns, and its gushing fountains — so fresh, so broad, and free, 
and beautiful — nothing can exaggerate. The first burst of the 
interior, in all its expansive majesty and glory : and, most of 
all, the looking up into the Dome : is a sensation never to be 
forgotten. But, there were preparations for a Festa ; the pillars 
of stately marble were swathed in some impertinent frippery of 
red and yellow ;. the altar, and entrance to the subterranean 
chapel : which is before it, in the centre of the church : were 
like a goldsmith's shop, or one of the opening scenes in a very 
lavish pantomime. And though I had as high a sense of the 
beauty of the building (I hope) as it is possible to entertain, 
I felt no very strong emotion. I have been infinitely more 
affected in many English cathedrals when the organ has been 
playing, and in many English country churches when the 
congregation have been singing. I had a much greater sense 
of mystery and wonder in the Cathedral of San Mark, at 
Venice. 

When we came out of the church again (we stood nearly an 
hour staring up into the dome, and would not have "gone 
over " the Cathedral then for any money), we said to the coach- 
man, " Go to the Coliseum." In a quarter of an hour or so, he 
stopped at the gate, and we went in. 

It is no fiction, but plain, sober, honest Truth, to say : so 
suggestive and distinct is it at this hour : that, for a moment — 
actually in passing in — they who will, may have the whole 
great pile before them, as it used to be, with thousands of eager 
faces staring down into the arena, and such a whirl of strife, and 
blood, and dust, going on there, as no language can describe. 
Its solitude, its awful beauty, and its utter desolation strike 
upon the stranger, the next moment, like a softened sorrow ; 
and never in his life, perhaps, will he be so moved and over- 



4 2 8 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

come by any sight, not immediately connected with his Own 
affections and afflictions. 

To see it crumbling there, an inch a year;- its walls and 
arches overgrown with green ; its corridors open to the day ; 
the long grass growing in its porches ; young trees of yesterday 
springing up on its ragged parapets, and bearing fruit : chance 
produce of the seeds dropped there by the birds who build their 
nests within its chinks and crannies ; to see its Pit of Fight 
filled up with earth, and the peaceful Cross planted in the 
centre ; to climb into its upper halls, and look down on ruin, 
ruin, ruin, all about it ; the triumphal arches of Constantine, 
Septimus Severus, and Titus ; the Roman Forum ; the Palace 
of the Caesars ; the temples of the old religion, fallen down and 
gone ; is to see the ghost of old Rome, wicked, wonderful 
old city, haunting the very ground on which its people trod. 
It is the most impressive, the most stately, the most solemn, 
grand, majestic, mournful sight conceivable. Never, in its 
bloodiest prime, can the sight of the gigantic Coliseum, full and 
running over with the lustiest life, have moved one heart, as it 
must move all who look upon it now, a ruin. God be thanked : 
a ruin ! 

As it tops the other ruins : standing there, a mountain among 
graves : so do its ancient influences outlive all other remnants 
of the old mythology and old butchery of Rome, in the nature 
of the fierce and cruel Roman people. The Italian face changes 
as the visitor approaches the city ; its beauty becomes devilish ; 
and there is scarcely one countenance in a hundred, among the 
common people in the streets, that would not be at home and 
happy in a renovated Coliseum to-morrow. 

Here was Rome indeed at last ; and such a Rome as no one 
can imagine in its full and awful grandeur ! We wandered out 
upon the Appian Way, and then went on, through miles of 
ruined tombs and broken walls, with here and there a desolate 
and uninhabited house : past the Circus of Romulus, where 
the course of the chariots, the stations of the judges, competitors, 



ROME. 42 Q 

and spectators are yet as plainly to be seen as in old time : 
past the Tomb of Cecilia Metella : past all enclosure, hedge, or 
stake, wall or fence : away upon the open Campagna, where, on 
that side of Rome, nothing is to be beheld but Ruin. Except 
where the distant Apennines bound the view upon the left, the 
whole wide prospect is one field of ruin. Broken aqueducts, 
left in the most picturesque and beautiful clusters of arches ; 
broken temples ; broken tombs. A desert of decay, sombre 
and desolate beyond all expression ; and with a history in every 
stone that strews the ground. 

On Sunday the Pope assisted in the performance of High 
Mass at St. Peter's. The effect of the Cathedral on my mind, 
on that second visit, was exactly what it was at first, and what 
it remains after many visits. It is not religiously impressive or 
affecting. It is an immense edifice, with no one point for the 
mind to rest upon ; and it tires itself with wandering round 
and round. The very purpose of the place is not expressed in 
anything you see there, unless you examine its details — and all 
examination of details is incompatible with the place itself. It 
might be a Pantheon, or a Senate House, or a great architectural 
trophy, having no other object than an architectural triumph. 
There is a black statue of St. Peter, to be sure, under a red 
canopy ; which is larger than life, and which is constantly hav- 
ing its great toe kissed by good Catholics. You cannot help 
seeing that : it is so very prominent and popular. But it does 
not heighten the effect of the temple as a work of art ; and it 
is not expressive — to me, at least — of its high purpose. 

A large space behind the altar was fitted up with boxes, 
shaped like those at the Italian Opera in England, but in their 
decoration much more~ gaudy. In the centre of the kind of 
theatre thus railed off was a canopied dais with the Pope's chair 
upon it. The pavement was covered with a carpet of the 
brightest green ; and what with this green, and the intolerable 
reds and crimsons, and gold borders of the hangings, the whole 



430 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

concern looked like a stupendous Bonbon. On either side of 
the altar was a large box for lady strangers. These were filled 
with ladies in black dresses and black veils. The gentlemen of 
the Pope's guard, in red coats, leather breeches, andg'ack-boots, 
guarded all this reserved space, with drawn swords that were very 
flashy in every sense ; and, from the altar all down the nave, a 
broad lane was kept clear by the Pope's Swiss Guard, who wear 
a quaint striped surcoat, and striped tight legs, and carry hal- 
berds like those which are usually shouldered by those theatrical 
supernumeraries, who never can get off the stage fast enough, and 
who may be generally observed to linger in the enemy's camp 
after the open country, held by the opposite forces, has been 
split up the middle by a convulsion of Nature. 

I got upon the border of the green carpet, in company with 
a great many other gentlemen attired in black (no other pass- 
port is necessary), and stood there, at my ease, during the per- 
formance of mass. The singers were in a crib of wire-work (like 
a large meat-safe or bird-cage) in one corner ; and sang most 
atrociously. All about the green carpet there was a slowly- 
moving crowd of people : talking to each other : staring at the 
Pope through eye-glasses : defrauding one another, in moments 
of partial curiosity, out of precarious seats on the bases of 
pillars : and grinning hideously at the ladies. Dotted here and 
there were little knots of friars (Francescani, or Cappuccini, in 
their coarse brown dresses and peaked hoods), making a strange 
contrast to the gaudy ecclesiastics of higher degree, and having 
their humility gratified to the utmost, by being shouldered 
about, and elbowed right and left, on all sides. Some of these 
had muddy sandals and umbrellas, and stained garments : hav- 
ing trudged in from the country. The faces of the greater part 
were as coarse and heavy as their dress ; their dogged, stupid; 
monotonous stare at all the glory and splendour having soms- 
thing in it half miserable, and half ridiculous. 

Upon the green carpet itself, and gathered round the altar, 
was a perfect army of cardinals and priests, in red, gold, purple. 



ROME. 43 1 

violet, white, and fine linen. Stragglers from these went to 
and fro among the crowd, conversing two and two, or giving 
and receiving introductions, and exchanging salutations ; other 
functionaries in black gowns, and other functionaries in court 
dresses, were similarly engaged. In the midst of all these, and 
stealthy Jesuits creeping in and out, and the extreme restless- 
ness of the Youth of England, who were perpetually wandering 
about, some few steady persons in black cassocks, who had 
knelt down with their faces to the wall, and were poring over 
their missals, became, unintentionally, a sort of humane man- 
traps, and with their own devout legs tripped up other people's 
by the dozen. 

There was a great pile of candles lying down on the floor 
near me, which a very old man in a rusty black gown with an 
open-work tippet, like a summer ornament for a fire-place in 
tissue paper, made himself very busy in dispensing to all the 
ecclesiastics : one apiece. They loitered about with these for 
some time, under their arms like walking-sticks, or in their 
hands like truncheons. At a certain period of the ceremony, 
however, each carried his candle up to the Pope, laid it across 
his two knees to be blessed, took it back again, and filed off. 
This was done in a very attenuated procession, as you may 
suppose, and occupied a long time. Not because it takes long 
to bless a candle through and through, but because there were 
so many candles to be blessed. At last they were all blessed ; 
and then they were all lighted ; and then the Pope was taken 
up, chair and all, and carried round the church. 

I must say that I never saw anything, out of November, so 
like the popular English commemoration of the fifth of that 
month. A bundle of matches and a lantern would have made 
it perfect. Nor did the Pope himself at all mar the resem- 
blance, though he has a pleasant and venerable face ; for, as 
this part of the ceremony makes him giddy and sick, he shuts 
his eyes when it is performed : and having his eyes shut, and a 
great mitre on his head, and his head itself wagging to and fro, 



432 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

as they shook him in carrying, he looked as if his mask were 
going to tumble off. The two immense fans which are always 
borne, one on either side of him, accompanied him, of course, 
on this occasion. As they carried him along, he blessed the 
people with the mystic sigh ; and, as he passed them, they 
kneeled down. When he had made the round of the church, 
he was brought back again, and, if I am not mistaken, this 
performance was repeated, in the whole, three times. There 
was, certainly, nothing solemn or effective in it ; and certainly 
very much that was droll and tawdry. But this remark 
applies to the whole ceremony, except the raising of the Host, 
when every man in the guard dropped on one knee instantly, 
and dashed his naked sword on the ground ; which had a fine 
effect. 

The next time I saw the Cathedral was some two or three 
weeks afterwards, when I climbed up into the ball ; and then, 
the hangings being taken down, and the carpet taken up, but 
all the framework left, the remnants of these decorations looked 
like an exploded cracker. 

The Friday and Saturday having been solemn Festa days, 
and Sunday being always a dies non in Carnival proceedings, 
Ave had looked forward, with some impatience and curiosity, to 
the beginning of the new week : Monday and Tuesday being 
the two last and best days of the Carnival. 

On the Monday afternoon, at one or two o'clock, there began 
to be a great rattling of carriages into the courtyard of the 
hotel ; a hurrying to and fro of all the servants in it ; and, 
now and then, a swift shooting across some doorway or balcony 
of a straggling stranger in a fancy dress : not yet sufficiently 
well used to the same to wear it with confidence, and defy 
public opinion. All the carriages were open, and had the 
linings carefully covered with white cotton or calico, to prevent 
their proper decorations from being spoiled by the incessant 
pelting of sugar-plums ; and people were packing and cramming 



ROME. 433 

into every vehicle, as it waited for its occupants, enormous 
sacks, and basketsful of these confetti, together with such heaps 
of flowers, tied up in little nosegays, that some carriages were 
not only brimful of flowers, but literally running over : scatter- 
ing, at every shake and jerk of the springs, some of their 
abundance on the ground. Not to be behindhand in these 
essential particulars, we caused two very respectable sacks of 
sugar-plums (each about three feet high) and a large clothes- 
basket full of flowers to be conveyed into our hired barouche 
with all speed. And from our place of observation, in one of 
the upper balconies of the hotel, we contemplated these arrange- 
ments with the liveliest satisfaction. The carriages now begin- 
ning to take up their company, and move away, we got into 
ours, and drove off too, armed with little wire masks for our 
faces ; the sugar-plums, like Falstaff's adulterated sack, having 
lime in their composition. 

The Corso is a street a mile long; a street of shops, and 
palaces, and private houses, sometimes opening into a broad 
piazza. There are verandas and balconies, of all shapes and 
sizes, to almost every house — not on one story alone, but often 
to one room or another on every story — put there, in' general, 
with so little order or regularity, that if, year after year, and 
season after season, it had rained balconies, hailed balconies, 
snowed balconies, blown balconies, they could scarcely have 
come into existence in a more disorderly manner. 

This is the great fountain-head and focus of the Carnival. 
But all the streets in which the Carnival is held, being vigi- 
lantly kept by dragoons, it is necessary for carriages, in the first 
instance, to pass, in line, down another thoroughfare, and so 
come into the Corso at the end remote from the Piazza del 
Popolo ; which is one of its terminations. Accordingly, we fell 
into the string of coaches, and, for some time, jogged on quietly 
enough ; now crawling on at a very slow walk ; now trotting 
half-a-dozen yards ; now backing fifty ; and now stopping 
altogether : as the pressure in. front obliged us. If any 

F F 



4.34 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

impetuous carriage dashed out of the rank and clattered 
forward, with the wild idea of getting on faster, it was sud- 
denly met, or overtaken, by a trooper on horseback, who, deaf 
as his own drawn sword to all remonstrances, immediately 
escorted it back to the very end of the row, and made it a dim 
speck in the remotest perspective; Occasionally, we inter- 
changed a volley of confetti with the carriage next in front, 
or the carriage next behind ; but, as yet, this capturing of 
stray and errant coaches by the military was the chief 
amusement. 

Presently we came into a narrow street, where, besides one 
line of carriages going, there was another line of carriages 
returning. Here the sugar-plums and the nosegays began to 
fly about pretty smartly ; and I was fortunate enough to 
observe one gentleman, attired as a Greek warrior, catch a 
light-whiskered brigand on the nose (he was in the very act of 
tossing up a bouquet to a young lady in a first-floor window) 
with a precision that was much applauded by the bystanders. 
As this victorious Greek was exchanging a facetious remark 
with a stout gentleman in a doorway — one half black and one 
half white, as if he had been peeled up the middle— who had 
offered him his congratulations on this achievement, he received 
an orange from a housetop full on his left ear, and was much 
surprised, not to say discomfited. Especially as he was stand- 
ing up at the time ; and, in consequence of the carriage moving 
on suddenly at the same moment, staggered ignominiously, and 
buried himself among his flowers. 

Some quarter of an hour of this sort of progress brought us 
to the Corso ; and anything so gay, so bright, and Jively as the 
whole scene there, it would be difficult to imagine. From all 
the innumerable balconies : from the remotest and highest, no 
less than from the lowest and nearest : hangings of bright red, 
bright green, bright blue, white and gold, were fluttering in the 
brilliant sun-light. From windows, and from parapets, and tops 
of houses, streamers of the richest colours, and draperies of the 



ROME. 435 

gaudiest and most sparkling hues, were floating out upon the 
street. The buildings seemed to have been literally turned 
inside out, and to have all their gaiety towards the highway. 
Shop-fronts were taken down, and the windows filled with 
company, like boxes at a shining theatre ; doors were carried 
off their hinges, and long tapestried groves, hung with garlands 
of flowers and evergreens, displayed within ; builders' scaffold- 
ings were gorgeous temples, radiant in silver, gold, and crimson ; 
and in every nook and corner, from the pavement to the 
chimney-tops, where women's eyes could glisten, there they 
danced, and laughed, and sparkled, like the light in water. 
Every sort of bewitching madness of dress was there. Little 
preposterous scarlet jackets ; quaint old stomachers, more 
wicked than the smartest bodices ; Polish pelisses, strained and 
tight as ripe gooseberries ; tiny Greek caps, all awry, and cling- 
ing to the dark hair, Heaven knows how ; every wild, quaint, 
bold, shy, pettish, madcap fancy had its illustration in a dress ; 
and every fancy was as dead forgotten by its owner, in the 
tumult of merriment, as if the three old aqueducts, that still 
remain entire, had brought Lethe into Rome, upon their sturdy 
arches, that morning. 

The carriages were now three abreast ; in broader places 
four ; often stationary for a long time together ; always one 
close mass of variegated brightness ; showing the -whole street- 
ful, through the storm of flowers, like flowers of a larger growth 
themselves. In some the horses were richly caparisoned in 
magnificent trappings ; in others they were decked, from head 
to tail, with flowing ribbons. Some were driven by coachmen 
with enormous double faces : one face leering at the horses : 
the other cocking its extraordinary eyes into' the carriage : and 
both rattling again under the hail of sugar-plums. Other 
drivers were attired as women, wearing long ringlets and no 
bonnets, and looking more ridiculous in any real difficulty with 
the horses (of which, in such a concourse, there were a great 
many) than tongue can tell, or pen describe. Instead of setting 

FF 2 * 



436 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

in the carriages, upon the seats, the handsome Roman women, 
to see and to be seen the better, sit in the heads of the 
barouches, at this time of general licence, with their feet upon 
the cushions — and oh, the flowing skirts and dainty waists, the 
blessed shapes and laughing faces, the free, good-humoured, 
gallant figures that they make ! There were great vans, too, 
full of handsome girls — thirty or more together, perhaps — and 
the broadsides that were poured into, and poured out of, these 
fairy fire-ships, splashed the air with flowers and bonbons for 
ten minutes at a time. Carriages, delayed long in one place, 
would begin a deliberate engagement with other carriages, or 
with people at the lower windows ; and the spectators at some 
upper balcony or window, joining in the fray, and attacking 
both parties, would empty down great bags of confetti, that 
descended like a cloud, and in an instant made them white as 
millers. Still, carriages on carriages, dresses on dresses, colours 
on colours, crowds upon crowds, without end. Men and boys 
clinging to the wheels of coaches, and holding on behind,, 
and following in their wake, and diving in among the horses' 
feet to pick up scattered flowers to sell again ; maskers on foot 
(the drollest,, generally), in fantastic exaggerations of court 
dresses, surveying the throng through enormous eye-glasses, 
and always transported with an ecstasy of love, on the dis- 
covery of any particularly old lady at a window ; long strings 
of Policinelli, laying about them with blown bladders at the 
ends of sticks ; a waggonful of madmen, screaming and tearing 
to the life ; a coachful of grave mamelukes, with their horse- 
tail standard set up in the midst ; a party of gipsy women 
engaged in terrific conflict with a shipful of sailors ; a man- 
monkey on a pole, surrounded by strange animals with pigs', 
faces, and lions' tails, carried under their arms, or worn grace- 
fully over their shoulders ; carriages on carriages, dresses on 
dresses, colours on colours, crowds upon crowds, without end.' 
Not many actual characters sustained, or represented, perhaps, 
considering the pnmber dressed, but the main pleasure of the 



ROME. 437 

scene consisting in its perfect good temper ; in its bright, and 
infinite, and flashing variety ; and in its entire abandonment to 
the mad humour of the time — an abandonment so perfect, so 
contagious, so irresistible, that the steadiest foreigner fights up 
to his middle in flowers and sugar-plums, like the wildest 
Roman of them all, and thinks of nothing else till half-past 
four o'clock, when he is suddenly reminded (to his great regret) 
that this is not the whole business of his existence, by hearing 
the trumpets sound, and seeing the dragoons begin to clear the 
street. 

How it ever is cleared for the race that takes place at five, 
or how the horses ever go through the race, without going over 
the people, is more than I can say. But the carriages get out 
into the by-streets, or up into the Piazza del Popolo, and some 
people sit in temporary galleries in the latter place, and tens of 
thousands line the Corso on both sides, when the horses are 
brought out into the Piazza — to the foot of that same column 
which, for centuries, looked down upon the games and chariot 
races in the Circus Maximus. 

At a given signal they are started off. Down the live lane, 
the whole length of the Corso, they fly like the wind : riderless, 
as all the world knows : with shining ornaments upon their 
backs, and • twisted in their plaited manes : and with heavy 
little balls, stuck full of spikes, dangling at their sides, to goad 
them on. The jingling of these trappings, and the rattling of 
their hoofs upon the hard stones ; the dash and fury of their 
speed along the echoing street ; nay, the very cannon that are 
fired — these noises are nothing to the roaring of the multitude : 
their shouts : the clapping of their hands. But it is soon over 
— almost instantaneously. More cannon shake the town. The 
horses have plunged into the carpets put across the street to 
stop them ; the goal is reached ; the prizes are won (they are 
given, in part, by the poor Jews, as a compromise for not 
running foot-races themselves) ; and there is an end to that 
day's sport. 



43§ PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

But if the scene be bright, and gay, and crowded on the last 
day but one, it attains, on the concluding day, to such a height 
of glittering colour, swarming life, and frolicsome uproar, that 
the bare recollection of it makes me giddy at this moment. The 
same diversions, greatly heightened and intensified in the ardour 
with which they are pursued, go on until the same hour. The 
race is repeated ; the cannon are fired ; the shouting and clapping 
of hands are renewed ; the cannon are fired again ; the race is 
over ; and the prizes are won. But, the carriages : ankle deep 
in sugar-plums within, and so beflowered and dusty without as 
to be hardly recognisable for the same vehicles that they were 
three hours ago : instead of scampering off in all directions, 
throng into the Corso, where they are soon wedged together in 
a scarcely moving mass. For the diversion of the Moccoletti, 
the last gay madness of the Carnival, is now at hand ; and sellers 
of little tapers, like what are called Christmas candles in Eng- 
land, are shouting lustily on every side, "Moccoli, Moccoli ! 
Ecco Moccoli ! " — a new item in the tumult ; quite abolishing 
that other item of " Ecco Fiori ! Ecco Fior — r — r ! " which has 
been making itself audible over all the rest, at intervals, the 
whole day through. 

As the bright hangings and dresses are all fading into one 
dull, heavy, uniform colour in the decline of the day, lights 
begin flashing here and there : in the windows, on the house- 
tops, in the balconies, in the carriages, in the hands of the foot- 
passengers : little by little : gradually, gradually : more and 
more : until the whole long street is one great glare and blaze 
of fire. Then, everybody present has but one engrossing object ; 
that is, to extinguish other people's candles, and to keep his own 
alight ; and everybody : man, woman, or child, gentleman or 
lady, prince or peasant, native or foreigner : yells and screams, 
and roars incessantly, as a taunt to the subdued, " Senza Moc- 
colo, Senza Moccolo ! " (Without a light ! Without a light !) 
until nothing is heard but a gigantic chorus of those two words, 
mingled with peals of laughter. 



ROME. 430. 

The spectacle, at this time, is one of the most extraordinary 
that can be imagined. Carriages coming slowly by, with every- 
body standing on the seats or on the box, holding up their 
lights at arm's length for greater safety ; some in paper shades ; 
some with a bunch of undefended little tapers, kindled alto- 
gether ; some with blazing torches ; some with feeble little 
candles ; men on foot, creeping along, among the wheels, watch- 
ing their opportunity to make a spring at some particular light, 
and dash it out ; other people climbing up into carriages, to get 
hold of them by main force ; others chasing some unlucky wan- 
derer round and round his own coach, to blow out the light he 
has begged or stolen somewhere, before he can ascend to his 
own company, and enable them to light their extinguished 
tapers ; others with their hats off, at a carriage door, humbly 
beseeching some kind-hearted lady to oblige them with a light 
for a cigar, and when she is in the fulness of doubt whether to 
comply or no, blowing out the candle she is guarding so tenderly 
with her little hand ; other people at the windows fishing for 
candles with lines and hooks, or letting down long willow wands 
with handkerchiefs at the end, and flapping them out dexter- 
ously when the bearer is at the height of his triumph ; others 
biding their time in corners, with immense extinguishers like 
halberds, and suddenly coming down upon glorious torches ; 
others gathered round one coach, and sticking to it ; others 
raining oranges and nosegays at an obdurate little lantern, or 
regularly storming a pyramid of men, holding up one man 
among them, who carries one feeble little wick above his head, 
with which he defies them all ! Senza Moccolo ! Senza Moccolo ! 
Beautiful women, standing up in coaches, pointing in derision at 
extinguished lights, and clapping their hands, as they pass on, 
crying, " Senza Moccolo ! Senza Moccolo ! " low balconies full 
of lovely faces and gay dresses, struggling with assailants in the 
streets ; some repressing them as they climb up, some bending 
down, some leaning over, some shrinking back — delicate arms 
and bosoms — graceful figures — glowing lights, fluttering dresses, 



44° PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

Senza Moccolo, Senza Moccolo, Senza Moc-co-lo-o-o-o ! — when, 
in the wildest enthusiasm of the cry, and fullest ecstasy ot 
the sport, the Ave Maria rings from the church steeples, and 
the Carnival is over in an instant — put out like a taper, with 
a breath ! 

There was a masquerade at the theatre at night, as dull and 
senseless as a London one, and only remarkable for the summary 
way in which the house was cleared at eleven o'clock : which 
was done by a line of soldiers forming along the wall, at the 
back of the stage, and sweeping the whole company out before 
them, like a broad broom. The game of the Moccoletti (the 
word, in the singular, Moccoletto, is the diminutive of Moccolo, 
and means a little lamp or candle-snuff) is supposed by some to 
be a ceremony of burlesque mourning for the death of the Car- 
nival : candles being indispensable to Catholic grief. But whether 
it be so, or be a remnant of the ancient Saturnalia, or an incor- 
poration of both, or have its origin in anything else, I shall 
always remember it, and the frolic, as a brilliant and most capti- 
vating sight : no less remarkable for the unbroken good-humour 
of all concerned, down to the very lowest (and among those who 
scaled the carriages were many of the commonest men and boys), 
than for its innocent vivacity. For, odd as it may seem to say 
so, of a sport so full of thoughtlessness and personal display, it 
is as free from any taint of immodesty as any general mingling 
of the two sexes can possibly be ; and there seems to prevail, 
during its progress, a feeling of general, almost childish, sim- 
plicity and confidence, which one thinks of with a pang, when 
the Ave Maria has rung it away for a whole year. 

Availing ourselves of a part of the quiet interval between the 
termination of the Carnival and the beginning of the Holy Week : 
when everybody had run away from the one, and few people had 
yet begun to run back again for the other : we went conscien- 
tiously to work to see Rome. And, by dint of going out early 
■every morning, and coming back late every evening, and labour- 



ROME. 44 1 

ing hard all day, I believe we made acquaintance with every 
post and pillar in the city, and the country round ; and, in par- 
ticular, explored so many churches that I abandoned that part 
of the enterprise at last, before it was half finished, lest I should 
never, of my own accord, go to church again as long as I lived. 
But, I managed, almost every day, at one time or other, to get 
back to the Coliseum, and out upon the open Campagna, beyond 
the Tomb of Cecilia Metella. 

"We often encountered, in these expeditions, a company of 
English Tourists, with whom I had an ardent, but ungratified, 
longing to establish a speaking acquaintance. They were one 
Mr. Davis, and a small circle of friends. It was impossible not 
to know Mrs. Davis's name, from her being always in great 
request among her party, and her party being everywhere. 
During the Holy Week, they were in every part of every scene 
of every ceremony. For a fortnight or three weeks before it, 
they were in every tomb, and every church, and every ruin, and 
every Picture Gallery ; and I hardly ever observed Mrs. Davis to 
be silent for a moment. Deep underground, high up in St. 
Peter's, out on the Campagna, and stifling in the Jews' quarter, 
Mrs. Davis turned up, all the same. I don't think she ever 
saw anything, or ever looked at anything ; and she had always 
lost something out of a straw hand-basket, and was trying to 
find it, with all her might and main, among an immense quan- 
tity of English halfpence, which lay, like sands upon the sea- 
shore, at the bottom of it. There was a professional Cicerone 
always attached to the party (which had been brought over from 
London, fifteen or twenty strong, by contract), and if he so much 
as looked at Mrs. Davis, she invariably cut him short by saying, 
" There, God bless the man, don't worrit me ! I don't under- 
stand a word you say, and shouldn't if you was to talk till you 
was black in the face ! " Mr. Davis always had a snuff-coloured 
great-coat on, and carried a great green umbrella in his hand, 
and had a slow curiosity constantly devouring him, which 
prompted him to do extraordinary things, such as taking the 



442 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

covers off urns in tombs, and looking in at the ashes as if they 
were pickles — and tracing out inscriptions with the ferrule of 
his umbrella, and saying, with intense thoughtfulness, "Here's 
a B you see, and there's a R, and this is the way we goes on in ; 
is it ? " His antiquarian habits occasioned his being frequently 
in the rear of the rest ; and one of the agonies of Mrs. Davis, 
and the party in general, was an ever-present fear that Davis 
would be lost. This caused them to scream for him in the 
strangest places, and at the most improper seasons. And when 
he came, slowly emerging out of some Sepulchre or other, like a 
peaceful Ghoule, saying, " Here I am!" Mrs. Davis invariably 
replied, " You'll be buried alive in a foreign country, Davis, and 
it's no use trying to prevent you ! " 

Mr. and Mrs. Davis, and their party, had, probably, been 
brought from London in about nine or ten days. Eighteen 
hundred years ago, the Roman legions under Claudius protested 
against being led into Mr. and Mrs. Davis's country, urging that 
it lay beyond the limits of the world. 

Among what may be called the Cubs or minor Lions of Rome, 
there was one that amused me mightily. It is always to be 
found there ; and its den is on the great flight of steps that lead 
from the Piazza di Spagna to the Church of Trinita del Monte. 
In plainer words, these steps are the great place of resort for the 
artists' " Models," and there they are constantly waiting to be 
hired. Th& first time I went up there, I could not conceive why 
the faces seemed familiar to me ; why they appeared to have 
beset me, for years, in every possible variety of action and cos- 
tume ; and how it came to pass that they started up before me, 
in Rome, in the broad day, like so many saddled and bridled 
nightmares. I soon found that we had made acquaintance, and 
improved it, for several years, on the walls of various Exhibition 
Galleries. There is one old gentleman, with long white hair 
and an immense beard, who, to my knowledge, has gone half 
through the catalogue of the Royal Academy. This is the 
venerable, or patriarchal model. He carries a long staff; and 



ROME. 443 

every knot and twist in that staff I have seen, faithfully deli- 
neated, innumerable times. There is another man in a blue 
cloak, who always pretends to be asleep in the sun (when there 
is any), and who, I need not say, is always very wide awake, and 
very attentive to the disposition of his legs. This is the dolce 
far niente model. There is another man in a brown cloak, who 
leans against a wall, with his arms folded in his mantle, and 
looks out of the corners of his eyes : which are just visible 
beneath his broad slouched hat. This is the assassin model. 
There is another man, who constantly looks over his own 
shoulder, and is always going away, but never goes. This is 
the haughty, or scornful model. As to Domestic Happiness, and 
Holy Families, they should come very cheap, for there are lumps 
of them, all up the steps ; and the cream of the thing is, that 
they are all the falsest vagabonds in the world, especially made 
up for the purpose, and having no counterparts in Rome, or any 
other part of the habitable globe. 

My recent mention of the Carnival reminds me of its being 
said to be a mock mourning (in the ceremony with which it 
closes) for the gaieties and merry-makings before Lent ; and this 
again reminds me of the real funerals and mourning processions 
of Rome, which, like those in most other parts of Italy, are ren- 
dered chiefly remarkable to a Foreigner by the indifference with 
which the mere clay is universally regarded, after life has left it. 
And this js not from the survivors having had time to dissociate 
the memory of the dead from their well-remembered appearance 
and form on earth ; for the interment follows too speedily after 
death for that : almost always taking place within four-and- 
twenty hours, and, sometimes, within twelve. 

At Rome there is the same arrangement of Pits in a great, 
bleak, open, dreary space that I have already described as existing 
in Genoa. When I visited it, at noonday, I saw a solitary coffin 
of plain deal : uncovered by any shroud or pall, and so slightly 
made, that the hoof of any wandering mule would have crushed 
it in : carelessly tumbled down, all on one side, on the door of 



444 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

one of the pits— and there left, by itself, in the wind and sun- 
shine. " How does it come to be left here ? " I asked the man 
who showed me the place. " It was brought here half an hour 
ago, Signore," he said. I remembered to have met the proces- 
sion on its return : straggling away at a good round pace. "When 
will it be put in the pit ? " I asked him. " When the cart comes, 
and it is opened to-night," he said. " How much does it cost 
to be brought here in this way, instead of coming in the cart ? " 
I asked him. " Ten scudi," he said (about two pounds two-and- 
sixpence, English). "The other bodies, for whom nothing is 
paid, are taken to the Church of the Santa Maria della Conso- 
lazione," he continued, "and brought here all together in the 
cart at night." I stood a moment looking at the coffin, which 
had two initial letters scrawled upon the top : and turned away, 
with an expression in my face, I suppose, of not much liking its 
exposure in that manner : for he said, shrugging his shoulders 
with great vivacity, and giving a pleasant smile, " But he's dead, 
Signore, he's dead. Why not ? " 

Among the innumerable churches, there is one I must select 
for separate mention. It is the Church of the Ara Cceli, sup- 
posed to be built on the site of the old Temple of Jupiter 
Feretrius ; and approached, on one side, by a long steep flight 
of steps, which seem incomplete without some group of bearded 
soothsayers on the top. It is remarkable for the possession of 
a miraculous Bambino, or wooden doll, representing the Infant 
Saviour ; and I first saw this miraculous Bambino, in legal 
phrase, in manner following, that is to say : 

We had strolled into the church one afternoon, and were 
looking down its long vista of gloomy pillars (for all these ancient 
churches built upon the ruins of old temples are dark and sad), 
when the Brave came running in, with a grin upon his face that 
stretched it from ear to ear, and implored us to follow him with- 
out a moment's delay, as they were going to show the Bambino 
to a select party. We accordingly hurried off to a sort of 



ROME. 445 

chapel, or sacristy, hard by the chief altar, but not in the 
church itself, where the select party, consisting of two or three 
Catholio gentlemen and ladies (not Italians), were already 
assembled : and where one hollow-cheeked young monk was 
lighting up divers candles, while another was putting on some 
clerical robes over his coarse brown habit. The candles were 
on a kind of altar, and above it were two delectable figures, such 
as you would see at any English fair, representing the Holy 
Virgin, and St. Joseph, as I suppose, bending in devotion over 
a wooden box, or coffer ; which was shut. 

The hollow-cheeked monk, Number One, having finished 
lighting the candles, went down on his knees, in a corner, 
before this set-piece ; and the monk Number Two, having put 
on a pair of highly ornamented and gold-bespattered gloves, 
lifted down the coffer with great reverence, and set it on the 
altar. Then, with many genuflexions, and muttering certain 
prayers,, he opened it, and let down the front, and took off 
sundry coverings of satin and lace from the inside. The ladies 
had been on their knees from the commencement ; and the 
gentlemen now dropped down devoutly, as he exposed to view 
a little wooden doll, in face very like General Tom Thumb, the 
American Dwarf : gorgeously dressed in satin and gold lace, and 
actually blazing with rich jewels. There was scarcely a spot 
upon its little breast, or neck, or stomach, but was sparkling 
with the costly offerings of the Faithful. Presently he lifted it 
out of the box, and carrying it round among the kneelers, set 
its face against the forehead of every one, and tendered its 
clumsy foot to them to kiss — a ceremony which they all per- 
formed, down to a dirty little ragamuffin of a boy who had 
walked in from the street. When this was done he laid it in the 
box again ; and the company, rising, drew near, and commended 
the jewels in whispers, In good time he replaced the cover- 
ings, shut up the box, put it back in its place, locked up the 
whole concern (Holy Family and all) behind a pair of folding 
doors ; took off his priestly vestments ; and received the cus- 



44& PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

tomary "small charge," while his companion, by means of an 
extinguisher fastened to the end of a long stick, put out the 
lights, one after another. The candles being all extinguished, 
and the money all collected, they retired, and so did the spec- 
tators. 

I met this same Bambino in the street, a short time after- 
wards, going, in great state, to the house of some sick person. 
It is taken to all parts of Eome for this purpose constantly ; 
but, I understand that it is not always as successful as could be 
wished ; for, making its appearance at the bedside of weak and 
nervous people in extremity, accompanied by a numerous escort, 
it not unfrequently frightens them to death. It is most popular 
in cases of childbirth, where it has done such wonders, that if a 
lady be longer than usual in getting through her difficulties, a 
messenger is dispatched, with all speed, to solicit the immediate 
attendance of the Bambino. It is a very valuable property, and 
much confided in — especially by the religious body to whom it 
belongs. 

I am happy to know that it is not considered immaculate by 
some who are good Catholics, and who are behind the scenes, 
from what was told me by the near relation of a Priest, himself 
a Catholic, and a gentleman of learning and intelligence. This 
Priest made my informant promise that he would on no account 
allow the Bambino to be borne into the bedroom of a sick lady, 
in whom they were both interested. " For," said he, " if they 
(the monks) trouble her with it, and intrude themselves into 
her room, it will certainly kill her." My informant accordingly 
looked out of the window when it came ; and, with many thanks, 
declined to open the door. He endeavoured, in another case of 
which he had no other knowledge than such as he gained as a 
passer-by at the moment, to prevent its being carried into a small, 
unwholesome chamber, where a poor girl was dying. But, he 
strove against it unsuccessfully, and she' expired while the crowd 
were pressing round her bed. 

Among the people who drop into St. Peter's at their leisure, 



ROME. 4 } 7 

to kneel on the pavement, and say a quiet prayer, there are 
certain schools and seminaries, priestly and otherwise, that come 
in, twenty or thirty strong. These boys always kneel down in 
single file, one behind the other, with a tall, grim master, in a 
black gown, bringing up the rear : like a pack of cards arranged 
to be tumbled down at a touch, with a disproportionately large 
Knave of clubs at the end. When they have had a minute or 
so at the chief altar, they scramble up, and, filing off to the 
chapel of the Madonna, or the sacrament, flop down again in 
the same order ; so that, if anybody did stumble against the 
master, a general and sudden overthrow of the whole line must 
inevitably ensue. 

The scene in all the churches is the strangest possible. The 
same monotonous, heartless, drowsy chanting always going on ; 
the same dark building, darker frpm the brightness of the street 
without ; the same lamps dimly burning ; the selfsame people 
kneeling here and there ; turned towards you, from one altar or 
other, the same priest's back, with the same large cross embroi- 
dered on it : however different in size, in shape, in wealth, in 
architecture, this church is from that, it is the same thing still. 
There are the same dirty beggars stopping in their muttered 
prayers to beg; the same miserable cripples exhibiting their 
deformity at the doors ; the same blind men rattling little pots 
like kitchen pepper-castors : their depositories for alms ; the 
same preposterous crowns of silver stuck upon the painted heads 
of single saints and Virgins in crowded pictures, so that a little 
figure on a mountain has a head-dress bigger than the temple 
in the foreground, or adjacent miles of landscape ; the same 
favourite shrine or figure, smothered with little silver hearts 
and crosses, and the like : the staple trade and show of all the 
jewellers ; the same odd mixture of respect and indecorum, faith 
and phlegm : kneeling on the stones, and spitting on them, 
loudly ; getting up from prayers to beg a little, or to pursue 
some other worldly matter : and then kneeling down again, to 
resume the contrite supplication at the point where it was inter- 



448 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

rupted. In one church, a kneeling lady got up from her prayers, 
for a moment, to offer us her card as a teacher of Music ; and 
in another, a sedate gentleman, with a very thick walking-staff, 
arose from his devotions to belabour his dog, who was growling 
at another dog : and whose yelps and howls resounded through 
the church, as his master quietly relapsed into his former train 
of meditation — keeping his eye upon the dog at the same time, 
nevertheless. 

Above all, there is always a receptacle for the contributions 
of the Faithful, in some form or other. Sometimes it is a 
money-box, set up between the worshipper and the wooden life- 
size figure of the Redeemer ; sometimes it is a little chest for 
the maintenance of the Virgin ; sometimes an appeal on behalf 
of a popular Bambino : sometimes a bag at the end of a long 
stick, thrust among the people here and there, and vigilantly 
jingled by an active Sacristan ; but there it always is, and, very 
often, in many shapes in the same church, and doing pretty well 
in all. Nor is it wanting in the open air — the streets and roads 
— for often as you are walking along, thinking about anything 
rather than a tin canister, that object pounces out upon you 
from a little house by the wayside ; and on its top is painted, 
" For the Souls in Purgatory ;" an appeal which the bearer 
repeats a great many times, as he rattles it before you, much as 
Punch rattles the cracked bell which his sanguine disposition 
makes an organ of. 

And this reminds me that some Roman altars of peculiar 
sanctity bear the inscription, " Every mass performed at this 
altar frees a soul from Purgatory." I have never been able to 
find out the charge for one of these services, but they should 
needs be expensive. There are several Crosses in Rome, too, 
the kissing of which confers indulgences for varying terms. 
That in the centre of the Coliseum is worth a hundred days ; 
and people may be seen kissing it from morning to night. It 
is curious that some of these crosses seem to acquire an arbitrary 
popularity ; this very one among them. In another part of the 



ROME. 449 

Coliseum tliero is a cross upon a marble slab, with the inscrip- 
tion, "' Who kisses this cross shall be entitled to Two hundred 
and forty days' indulgence." But I saw no one person kiss it, 
though, day after clay, I sat in the arena, and saw scores upon 
scores of peasants pass it, on their way to kiss the other. 

To single out details from the great dream of Roman Churches 
would be the wildest occupation in the world. But San Stefano 
Rotondo, a damp, mildewed vault of an old church in the out- 
skirts of Rome, will always struggle uppermost in my mind, by 
reason of the hideous paintings with which its walls are covered. 
These represent the martyrdoms of saints and early Christians ; 
and such a panorama of horror and butchery no man could 
imagine in his sleep, though he were to eat a whole pig, raw, 
for supper. Grey-bearded men being boiled, fried, grilled, 
crimped, singed, eaten by wild beasts, worried by dogs, buried 
alive, torn asunder by horses, chopped up small with hatchets : 
women having their breasts torn with iron pincers, their tongues 
cut out, their ears screwed off, their jaws broken, their bodies 
stretched upon the rack, or skinned upon the stake, or crackled 
up and melted in the fire : these are among the mildest subjects. 
So insisted on, and laboured at, besides, that every sufferer gives 
you the same occasion for wonder as poor old Duncan awoke in 
Lady Macbeth, when she marvelled at his having so much blood 
in him. 

There is an upper chamber in the Mamertine prisons, over 
what is said to have been — and very possibly may have been — 
the dungeon of St. Peter. This chamber is now fitted up as an 
oratory, dedicated to that saint ; and it lives, as a distinct and 
separate place, in my recollection, too. It is very small and 
low-roofed ; and the dread and gloom of the ponderous, obdu- 
rate old prison are on it, as if they had come up in a dark mist 
through the floor. Hanging on the walls, among the clustered 
votive offerings, are objects, at once strangely in keeping, and 
strangely at variance, with the place — rusty daggers, knives, 
pistols, clubs, divers instruments of violence and murder, 

G G 



45° Pictures from italy. 

brought here, fresh from use, and hung up to propitiate offended 
Heaven : as if the blood upon them would drain off in con- 
secrated air, and have no voice to cry with. It is all so silent 
and so close, and tomb-like ; and the dungeons below are so 
black and stealthy, and stagnant, and naked ; that this little 
dark spot becomes a dream within a dream : and in the vision 
of great churches which come rolling past me like a sea, it is a 
small wave by itself, that melts into no other wave, and does 
not flow on with the rest. 

It is an awful thing to think of the enormous caverns that 
are entered from some Roman churches, and undermine the 
city. Many churches have crypts and subterranean chapels of 
great size, which, in the ancient time, were baths, and secret 
chambers of temples, and what not ; but I do not speak of them. 
Beneath the Church of San Giovanni and San Paolo there are 
the jaws of a terrific range of caverns, hewn out of the rock, and 
said to have another outlet underneath the Coliseum — tre- 
mendous darknesses of vast extent, half buried in the earth and 
unexplorable, where the dull torches, flashed by the attendants, 
glimmer down long ranges of distant vaults branching to the 
fight and left, like streets in the city of the dead ; and show 
the cold damp stealing down the walls, drip-drop, drip-drop, to 
join the pools of water that lie here and there, and never saw, 
and never will see, one ray of the sun. Some accounts make 
these the prisons of the wild beasts destined for the amphi- 
theatre ; some the prisons of the condemned gladiators ; some, 
both. But the legend most appalling to the fancy is, that in 
the upper range (for there are two stories of these caves) the 
Early Christians destined to be eaten at the Coliseum Shows 
heard the wild beasts, hungry for them, roaring down below ; 
until, upon the night and solitude of their captivity, there burst 
the sudden noon and life of the vast theatre crowded to the 
parapet, and of these, their dreaded neighbours, bounding in ! 

Below the Church of San Sebastiano, two miles beyond the 
gate of San Sebastiano, on the Appian Way, is the entrance to 










IN THE CATACOMBS. 



ROME. 45 1 

the catacombs of Rome — quarries in the old time, but afterwards 
the ' hiding-places of the Christians. These ghastly passages 
have been exploi'ed for twenty miles ; and form a chain of laby- 
rinths, sixty miles in circumference. 

A gaunt Franciscan friar, with a wild, bright eye, was our 
only guide down into this profound and dreadful place. The 
narrow ways and openings hither and thither, coupled with the 
dead and heavy air, soon blotted out, in all of us, any recollec- 
tion of the track by which we had come ; and I could not help 
thinking, "Good Heaven, if, in a sudden fit of madness, he 
should dash the torches out, or if he should be seized with a 
fit, what would become of us?" On we wandered, among 
martyrs' graves : passing great subterranean vaulted roads, 
diverging in all directions, and choked up with heaps of stones, 
that thieves and murderers may not take refuge there, and form 
a population under Home, even worse than that which lives 
between it and the sun. Graves, graves, graves ; Graves of 
men, of women, of their little children, who ran crying to the 
persecutors, "We are Christians' We are Christians!" that 
they might be murdered with their parents ; Graves with the 
palm of martyrdom roughly cut into their stone boundaries, 
and little niches, made to hold a vessel of the martyrs' blood ; 
Graves of some who lived down here for years together, minister- 
ing to the rest, and preaching truth, and hope, and comfort from 
the rude altars, that bear witness to their fortitude at this hour ; 
more roomy graves, but far more terrible, where hundreds, being 
surprised, were hemmed in and walled up : buried before Death, 
and killed by slow starvation. 

" The Triumphs of the Faith are not above-ground in our 
splendid churches," said the friar, looking round upon us, as we 
stopped to rest in one of the low passages, with bones and dust 
surrounding us on every side. " They are here ! Among the 
Martyrs' Graves ! " He was a gentle, earnest man, and said it 
from his heart ; but when I thought how Christian men have 
dealt with one another ; how, perverting our most merciful 

gg2 



4y Pictures from italy. 

religion, they have hunted clown and tortured, burnt and 
beheaded, strangled, slaughtered, and oppressed each other ; I 
pictured to myself an agony surpassing any that this Dust had 
suffered with the breath of life yet lingering in it, and how 
these great and constant hearts would have been shaken — how 
they would have quailed and drooped — if a foreknowledge of 
the deeds that professing Christians would commit in the Great 
Name for which they died, could have rent them, with its own 
unutterable anguish, on the cruel wheel, and bitter cross, and in 
the fearful fire. 

Such are the spots and patches in my dream of churches 
that remain apart, and keep their separate identity. I have a 
fainter recollection, sometimes, of the relics ; of the fragments 
of the pillar of the Temple that was rent in twain ; of the por- 
tion of the table that was spread for the Last Supper ; of the 
well at which the woman of Samaria gave water to Our Saviour ; 
of two columns from the house of Pontius Pilate ; of the stone 
to which the sacred hands were bound, when the scourging was 
performed ; of the gridiron of St. Lawrence, and the stone 
below it, marked with the frying of his fat and blood ; these 
set a shadowy mark on some cathedrals, as an old story or a 
fable might, and stop them for an instant, as they flit before 
me. The rest is a vast wilderness of consecrated buildings of 
all shapes and fancies, blending one with another ; of battered 
pillars of old Pagan temples, dug up from the ground, and 
forced, like giant captives, to support the roofs of Christian 
churches ; of pictures, bad, and wonderful, and impious, and 
ridiculous ; of kneeling people, curling incense, tinkling bells, 
and sometimes (but not often) of a swelling organ ; of Madonne, 
with their breasts stuck full of swords, arranged in a half-circle 
like a modern fan ; of actual skeletons of dead saints, hideously 
attired in gaudy satins, silks, and velvets trimmed with gold : 
their withered crust of skull adorned with precious jewels, or 
with chaplets of crushed flowers ; sometimes, of people gathered 
round the pulpit, and a monk within it stretching out the 



ROME. 453 

crucifix, and preaching fiercely : the sun just streaming down 
through some high window on the sail-cloth stretched above 
him and across the church, to keep his high-pitched voice from 
being lost among the echoes of the roof. Then my tired 
memory comes out upon a flight of steps, where knots of 
people are asleep, or basking in the light ; and strolls away, 
among the rags, and smells, and palaces, and hovels of an old 
Italian street. 

On one Saturday morning (the eighth of March) a man was 
beheaded here. Nine or ten months before, he had waylaid a 
Bavarian countess, travelling as a pilgrim to Eome — alone and 
on foot, of course — and performing, it is said, that act of piety 
for the fourth time. He saw her change a piece of gold at 
Yiterbo, where he lived ; followed her ; bore her company on 
her journey for some forty miles or more, on the treacherous 
pretext of protecting her ; attacked her, in the fulfilment of his 
unrelenting purpose, on the Campagna, within a very short 
distance of Rome, near to what is called (but what is not) the 
Tomb of Nero ; robbed her ; and beat her to death with her 
own pilgrim's staff. He was newly married, and gave some of 
her apparel to his wife : saying that he had bought it at a fair. 
She, however, who had seen the pilgrim-countess passing through 
their town, recognised some trifle as having belonged to her. 
Her husband then told her what he had done. She, in confes- 
sion, told a priest ; and the man was taken within four days 
after the commission of the murder. 

There are no fixed times for the administration of justice, or 
its execution, in this unaccountable country ; and he had been 
in prison ever since. On the Friday, as he was dining with the 
other prisoners, they came and told him he was to be beheaded 
next morning, and took him away. It is very unusual to exe- 
cute in Lent ; but his crime being a very bad one, it was deemed 
advisable to make an example of him at that time, when great 
numbers of pilgrims were coming towards Rome, from all parts, 



454 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

for the Holy Week. I heard of this on the Friday evening, and 
saw the bills up at the churches, calling on the people to pray 
for the ci'iminal's soul. So I determined to go and see him 
executed. 

The beheading was appointed for fourteen and a half o'clock, 
Roman time : or a quarter before nine in the forenoon. I had 
two friends with me ; and, as we did not know but that the 
crowd might be very great, we were on the spot by half-past 
seven. The place of execution was near the Church of San 
Giovanni Decollate (a doubtful compliment to St. John the 
Baptist), in one of the impassable back-streets without any foot- 
way, of which a great part of Rome is composed — a street of 
rotten houses, which do not seem to belong to anybody, and do 
not seem to have ever been inhabited, and certainly were never 
built on any plan, or for any particular purpose, and have no 
window-sashes, and are a little like deserted breweries, and might 
be warehouses, but for having nothing in them. Opposite to 
one of these, a white house, the scaffold was built. An untidy, 
unpainted, uncouth, crazy-looking thing, of course : some seven 
feet high, perhaps : with a tall, gallows-shaped frame rising above 
it, in which was the knife, charged with a ponderous mass of 
iron, all ready to descend, and glittering brightly in the morning 
sun, whenever it looked out, now and then, from behind a 
cloud. 

There were not many people lingering about ; and these were 
kept at a considerable distance from the scaffold by parties of 
the Pope's dragoons. Two or three hundred' foot-soldiers were 
under arms, standing at ease in clusters here and there ; and 
the officers were walking up and down in twos and threes, 
chatting together, and smoking cigars. 

At the end of the street was an open space, where there 
would be a dust-heap, and piles of broken crockery, and mounds 
of vegetable refuse, but for such things being thrown anywhere 
and everywhere in Rome, and favouring no particular sort of 
locality. We got into a kind of wash-house, belonging to a 



ROME. 455 

dwelling-house on this spot ; and standing there in an old cart, 
and on a heap of cart wheels piled against the wall, looked, 
through ,a large grated window, at the scaffold, and straight 
down the street beyond it, until, in consequence of its turning 
off abruptly to the left, our perspective was brought to a sudden 
termination, and had a corpulent officer, in a cocked-hat, for its 
crowning feature. 

Nine o'clock struck, and ten o'clock struck, and nothing 
happened. All the bells of all the churches rang as usual. A 
little parliament of dogs assembled in the open space, and 
chased each other in and out among the soldiers. Fierce- 
looking Romans of the lowest class, in blue cloaks, russet cloaks, 
and rags uncloaked, came and went, and talked together. 
"Women and children fluttered on the skirts of the scanty crowd. 
One large, muddy spot was left quite bare, like a bald place on a 
man's head. A cigar merchant, with an earthen pot of charcoal 
ashes in one hand, went up and down crying his wares. A 
pastry merchant divided his attention between the scaffold and 
his customers. Boys tried to climb up walls, and tumbled down 
again. Priests and monks elbowed a passage for themselves 
among the people, and stood on tiptoe for a sight of the knife : 
then went away. Artists, in inconceivable hats of the middle 
ages, and beards (thank Heaven!) of no age at all, flashed 
picturesque scowls about them from their stations in the throng. 
One gentleman (connected with the fine arts I presume) went 
up and down in a pair of Hessian boots, with a red beard 
hanging down on his breast, and his long and bright red hair 
plaited into two tails, one on either side of his head : which fell 
over his shoulders in front of him, very nearly to his. waist, and 
were carefully entwined and braided ! 

Eleven o'clock struck ; and still nothing happened. A rumour 
got about, among the crowd, that the criminal would not con- 
fess ; in which case the priests would keep him until the Ave 
Maria (sunset) ; for it is their merciful custom never finally to 
turn the crucifix away from a man at that pass, as one refusing 



456 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

to be shriven, and consequently a sinner abandoned of the 
Saviour', until then. People began to drop off. The officers 
fcnrtigged their shoulders and looked doubtful. The dragoons, 
who came riding up below our window, every now and then, to 
order an unlucky hackney coach or cart away as soon as it had 
comfortably established itself, and was covered with exulting 
people (but never before), became imperious and quick-tempered. 
The bald place hadn't a straggling hair upon it ; and the cor- 
pulent officer, crowning the perspective, took a world of snuff. 

Suddenly, there was a noise of trumpets. " Attention ! " was 
among the foot-soldiers instantly. They were marched up to 
the scaffold, and formed round it. The dragoons galloped to 
their nearer stations too. The guillotine became the centre of 
a wood of bristling bayonets and shining sabres. The people 
closed round nearer, on the flank of the soldiery. A long, 
straggling stream of men and boys, who had accompanied the 
procession from the prison, came pouring into the open space. 
The bald spot was scarcely distinguishable from the rest. The 
cigar and pastry merchants resigned all thoughts of business for 
the moment, and, abandoning themselves wholly to pleasure, got 
good situations in the crowd. The perspective ended, now, in 
a troop of dragoons. And the corpulent officer, sword in hand, 
looked hard at a church close to him, which he could see, but 
we, the crowd, could not. 

After a short delay, some monks were seen approaching to 
the scaffold from this church ; and above their heads, coming on 
slowly and gloomily, the effigy of Christ upon the cross, canopied 
with black. This was carried round the foot of the scaffold, to 
the front, and turned towards the criminal, that he might see it 
to the last. It was hardly in its place, when he appeared on 
the platform, barefooted ; his hands bound ; and with the collar 
and neck of his shirt cut away almost to the shoulder. A 
young man — six-and-twenty — vigorously made, and well shaped. 
Face pale ; small, dark moustache ; and dark brown hair. 

He had refused to confess, it seemed, without first having his 



ROME. 457 

wife brought to see him ; and they had sent an escort for her, 
which had occasioned the delay. 

He immediately kneeled down, below the knife. His neck 
fitting into a hole, made for the purpose, in a cross-plank, was 
shut down by another plank above ; exactly like the pillory. 
Immediately below him was a leathern bag. And into it his 
head rolled instantly. 

The executioner was holding it by the hair, and walking with 
it round the scaffold, showing it to the peeple, before one quite 
knew that the knife had fallen heavily, and with a rattling 
sound. 

When it had travelled round the four sides of the scaffold, it 
was set upon a pole in front — a little patch of black and white, 
for the long street to stare at, and the flies to settle on. The 
eyes were turned upward, as if he had avoided the sight of the 
leathern bag, and looked to the crucifix. Every tinge and hue 
of life had left it in that instant. It was dull, cold, livid wax. 
The body also. 

There was a great deal of blood. When we left the window, 
and went close up to the scaffold, it was very dirty ; one of the 
two men who were throwing water over it, turning to help the 
other lift the body into a shell, picked his way as through mire. 
A strange appearance was the apparent annihilation of the neck. 
The head was taken off so close, that it seemed as if the knife 
had narrowly escaped crushing the jaw, or shaving off the ear ; 
and the body looked as if there were nothing left above the 
shoulder. 

Nobody cared, or was at all affected. There was no manifesta- 
tion of disgust, or pity, or indignation, or sorrow. My empty 
pockets were tried, several times, in the crowd immediately 
below the scaffold, as the corpse was being put into its coffin. 
It was an ugly, filthy, careless, sickening spectacle ; meaning 
nothing but butchery, beyond the momentary interest, to the 
one wretched actor. Yes ! Such a sight has one meaning and 
one warning. Let me not forget it, The speculators in the 



458 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

lottery station themselves at favourable points for counting the 
gouts of blood that spurt out here or there ; and buy. that 
number. It is pretty sure to have a run upon it. 

The body was carted away in due time, the knife cleansedj the 
scaffold taken down, and all the hideous apparatus removed. 
The executioner : an outlaw ex officio (what a satire on the 
Punishment !) who dare not, for his life, cross the Bridge 
of St. Angelo but to do his work : retreated tp his lair, and 
the show was over. 

At the head of the collections in the palaces of Rome, the 
Vatican, of course, with its treasures of art, its enormous 
galleries, and staircases, and suites upon suites of immense 
chambers, ranks highest and stands foremost. Many most noble 
statues and wonderful pictures are there ; nor is it heresy to say 
that there is a considerable amount of rubbish there too. When 
any old piece of sculpture dug out of the ground finds a place 
in a gallery because it is old, and without any reference to its 
intrinsic merits : and finds admirers by the hundred, because it 
is there, and for no other reason on earth : there will.be no lack 
of objects, very indifferent in the plain eyesight of any one who 
employs so vulgar a property, when he may wear the spectacles 
of Cant for less than nothing, and establish himself as a man of 
taste for the mere trouble of putting them on. 

I unreservedly confess, for myself, that I cannot leave my 
natural perception of what is natural and true at a palace door, 
in Italy or elsewhere, as I should leave my shoes if I were 
travelling in the East. I cannot forget that there are certain 
expressions of face natural to certain passions, and as unchange- 
able in their nature as the gait of a lion, or the flight of an 
eagle. I cannot dismiss from my certain knowledge such 
commonplace facts as the ordinary proportions of men's arms, 
and legs, and heads ; and when I meet with performances that 
do violence to these experiences and recollections, no matter 
where they may be, I cannot honestly admire them, and think 



ROME. 459 

it best to say so ; in spite of high critical advice that we 
should sometimes feign an admiration, though we have it not. 

Therefore, I freely acknowledge that when I see a Jolly 
young Waterman representing a cherubim, or a Barclay and 
Perkins's Drayman depicted as an Evangelist, I see nothing to 
commend or admire in the performance, however great its 
reputed Painter. Neither am I partial to libellous Angels, who 
play on fiddles and bassoons, for the edification of sprawling 
monks apparently in liquor. Nor to those Monsieur Tonsons 
of galleries, St. Francis and St. Sebastian ; both of whom, I 
submit, should have very uncommon and rare merits, as works 
of art, to justify their compound multiplication by Italian 
Painters. 

It seems to me, too, that the indiscriminate and determined 
raptures in which some critics indulge is incompatible with the 
true appreciation of the really great and transcendent works. 
I cannot imagine, for example, how the resolute champion of 
undeserving pictures can soar to the amazing beauty of Titian's 
great picture of the Assumption of the Virgin at Venice ; or 
how the man who is truly affected by the sublimity of that 
exquisite production, or who is truly sensible of the beauty of 
Tintoretto's great picture of the Assembly of the Blessed in 
the same place, can discern in Michael Angelo's Last Judgment, 
in the Sistine Chapel, any general idea, or one pervading 
thought, in harmony with the stupendous subject. He who 
will contemplate Raphael's masterpiece, the Transfiguration, and 
will go away into another chamber of that same Vatican, and 
contemplate another design of Raphael, representing (in incre- 
dible caricature) the miraculous stopping of a great fire by Leo 
the Fourth — and who will say that he admires them both, as 
works of extraordinary genius — must, as I think, be wanting in 
his powers of perception in one of the two instances, and, pro- 
bably, in the high and lofty one. 

It is easy to suggest a doubt, but I have a great doubt 
whether, sometimes, the rules of art are not too strictly 



460.' PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

observed, and whether it is quite well or agreeable that we 
should know beforehand where this figure will be turning 
round, and where that figure will be lying down, and where 
there will be drapery in folds, and so forth. When I observe 
heads inferior to the subject in pictures of merit, in Italian 
galleries, I do not attach that reproach to the Painter, for I 
have a suspicion that these great men, who were, of necessity, 
very much in the hands of monks and priests, painted monks 
and priests a great deal too often. I frequently see, in 
pictures of real power, heads quite below the story and the 
painter : and I invariably observe that those heads are of the 
Convent stamp, and have their counterparts among the Convent 
inmates of this hour ; so, I have settled with myself that, in 
such cases, the lameness was not with the painter, but with the 
vanity and ignorance of certain of his employers, who would be 
apostles — on canvas, at all events. 

The exquisite grace and beauty of Canova's statues ; the 
wonderful gravity and repose of many of the ancient works in 
sculpture, both in the Capitol and the Vatican ; and the 
strength and fire of many others ; are, in their different ways, 
beyond all reach of words. They are especially impressive and 
delightful, after the works of Eernini and his disciples, in which 
the churches of Rome, from St. Peter's downward, abound ; and 
which are, I verily believe, the most detestable class of pro- 
ductions in the wide world. I would infinitely rather (as mere 
works of art) look upon the three deities of the Past, the 
Present, and the Future, in the Chinese Collection, than upon 
the best of these breezy maniacs ; whose every fold of drapery 
is blown inside out ; whose smallest vein, or artery, is as big as 
an ordinary forefinger ; whose hair is like a nest of lively 
snakes ; and whose attitudes put all other extravagance to 
shame. Insomuch that I do honestly believe there can be no 
place in the world where such intolerable abortions, begotten 
of the sculptor's chisel, are to be found in such profusion as 
in Rome, 



koMtfi -461 

There is a fine collection of Egyptian antiquities in the 
Vatican ; and the ceilings of the rooms in which they are 
arranged are painted to represent a starlight sky in the Desert. 
It may seem an odd idea, but it is very effective. The grim, 
half-human monsters from the temples look more grim and 
monstrous underneath the deep dark blue ; it sheds a strange 
uncertain gloomy air on everything — a mystery adapted to the 
objects ; and you leave them, as you find them, shrouded in a 
solemn night. 

In the private palaces pictures are seen to the best advantage. 
There are seldom so many in one place that the attention need 
become distracted, or the eye confused. You see them very 
leisurely ; and are rarely interrupted by a crowd of people. 
There are portraits innumerable, by Titian, and Rembrandt, 
and Vandyke ; heads by Guido, and Domenichino, and Carlo 
Dolci ; various subjects by Correggio, and Murillo, and Eaphael, 
and Salvator Rosa, and Spagnoletto — many of which it would 
be difficult indeed to praise too highly, or to praise enough ; 
such is their tenderness and grace ; their noble elevation, 
purity, and beauty. 

The portrait of Beatrice di Cenci, in the Palazzo Berberini, is 
a picture almost impossible to be forgotten. Through the tran- 
scendent sweetness and beauty of the face, there is a something 
shining out that haunts me. I see it now, as I see this paper, 
or my pen. The head is loosely draped in white ; the light 
hair falling down below the linen folds. She has turned sud- 
denly towards you ; and there is an expression in the eyes— 
although they are very tender and gentle — as if the wildness of 
a momentary terror, or distraction, had been struggled with, 
and overcome, that instant ; and nothing but a celestial hope, 
and a beautiful sorrow, and a desolate earthly helplessness 
remained. Some stories say that Guido painted it the night 
before her execution ; some other stories, that he painted it 
from memory, after having seen her on her way to the scaffold. 
- 1 am willing to believe that, as you see her on his canvas, so 



4^2 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

she turned towards him, in the crowd, from the first sight of 
the axe, and stamped upon his mind a look which he has 
stamped on mine, as though I had stood beside him in the 
concourse. The guilty palace of the Cenci : blighting a whole 
quarter of the town, as it stands withering away by ,grains : 
had that face, to my fancy, in its dismal porch, and at its black 
blind windows, and flitting up and down its dreary stairs, and 
growing out of the darkness of its ghostly galleries. The 
History is written in the Painting ; written, in the dying girl's 
face, by Nature's own hand. And oh ! how in that one touch 
she puts to flight (instead of making kin) the puny world that 
claim to be related to her, in right of poor conventional 
forgeries ! 

I saw, in the Palazzo Spada, the statue of Pompey ; the 
statue at whose base Caesar fell. A stern, tremendous figure ! 
I imagined one of greater finish : of the last refinement : full 
of delicate touches : losing its distinctness in the giddy eyes of 
one whose blood was ebbing before it, and settling into some 
such rigid majesty as this, as Death came creeping over the 
upturned face. 

The excursions in the neighbourhood of Rome are charming, 
and would be full of interest, were it only for the changing 
views they afford of the wild Campagna. But, every inch of 
ground, in every direction, is rich in associations, and in natural 
beauties. There is Albano, with its lovely lake and wooded 
shore, and with its wine, that certainly has not improved since 
the days of Horace, and in these times hardly justifies his 
panegyric. There is squalid Tivoli, with the river Anio diverted 
from its course, and plunging down, headlong, some eighty feet 
in search of it. With its picturesque Temple of the Sibyl, 
perched high on a crag ; its minor water-falls glancing and 
sparkling in the sun ; and one good cavern yawning darkly, 
where the river takes a fearful plunge and shoots on, low 
down under beetling rocks. There, too, is the Villa d'Este, 
deserted and decaying among groves of melancholy pine and 



ROME. 463 

cypress trees, where it seems to lie in state. Then, there is 
Firascati, and, on the steep above it, the ruins of Tusculum, 
where Cicero lived, and wrote, and adorned his favourite house 
(some fragments of it may yet be seen there), and where Cato 
was born. We saw its ruined amphitheatre on a grey, dull 
day, when a shrill March wind was blowing, and when the 
scattered stones of the old city lay strewn about the lonely 
eminence, as desolate and dead as the ashes of a long-extin- 
guished fire. 

One day we walked out, a little party of three, to Albano, 
fourteen miles distant ; possessed by a great desire to go there 
by the ancient Appian Way, long since ruined and overgrown. 
We started at half-past seven in the morning, and, within an 
hour or so, were out upon the open Campagna. For twelve 
miles we went climbing on, over an unbroken succession of 
mounds, and heaps, and hills of ruin. Tombs and temples, 
overthrown and prostrate ; small fragments of columns, friezes, 
pediments ; great blocks of granite and marble ; mouldering 
arches, grass-grown and decayed ; ruin enough to build a 
spacious city from" ; lay strewn about us. Sometimes loose 
walls, built up from these fragments by the shepherds, came 
across our path : sometimes a ditch, between two mounds of 
broken stones, obstructed our progress ; sometimes the frag- 
ments themselves, rollingfrom beneath our feet, made it a toilsome 
matter to advance ; but it was always ruin. Now we tracked a 
piece of the old road above the ground : now traced it under- 
neath a grassy covering, as if that were its grave : but all the 
way was ruin. In the distance, ruined aqueducts went stalking 
on their giant course along the plain ; and every breath of wind 
that swept towards us stirred early flowers and grasses, spring- 
ing up, spontaneously, on miles of ruin. The unseen larks 
above us, who alone disturbed the awful silence, had their nests 
in ruin ; and the fierce herdsmen, clad in sheep-skins, who now 
and then scowled out upon us from their sleeping nooks, were 
housed in ruin. The aspect of the desolate Campagna in one 



*464 PICTURES FFn.011 ITALY. 

direction, where it was most level, reminded me of an American 
prairie ; but what is the solitude of * region where men have 
never dwelt, to that of a Desert, where a mighty race have left 
their footprints in the earth from which they have vanished ; 
where the resting-places of their Dead have fallen like their 
Dead ; and the broken hour-glass of Time is but a heap of idle 
dust ? Returning, by the road, at sunset, and looking, from 
the distance, on the course we had taken in the morning, I 
almost felt (as I had felt when I first saw it at that hour) as if 
the sun would never rise again, but looked its last, that night, 
upon a ruined world. 

To come again on Rome by moonlight, after such an expedi- 
tion, is a fitting close to such a day. The narrow streets, 
devoid of footways, and choked, in every obscure corner, by 
heaps of dunghill rubbish, contrast so strongly, in their cramped 
dimensions, and their filth and darkness, with the broad square 
before some haughty church : in the centre of which a hiero- 
glyphic-covered obelisk, brought from Egypt in the days of the 
Emperors, looks strangely on the foreign scene about it ; or 
perhaps an ancient pillar, with its honoured statue overthrown, 
supports a Christian saint : Marcus Aurelius giving place to 
Paul, and Trajan to St. Peter. Then, there are the ponderous 
buildings reared from the spoliation of the Coliseum, shutting 
out the moon, like mountains : while, here and there, are broken 
arches and rent walls, through which it gushes freely, as the life 
comes pouring from a wound. The little town of miserable 
houses, walled, and shut in by barred gates, is the quarter where 
the Jews are locked up nightly, when the clock strikes eight — 
a miserable place, densely populated, and reeking with bad 
odours, but where the people are industrious and money-getting. 
In the daytime, as you make your way along the narrow streets, 
you see them all at work : upon the pavement, oftener than in 
their dark and frouzy shops : furbishing old clothes, and driving 
bargains. 

Crossing from these patches of thick darkness, out into the 



ROME. 465 

moon once more, the fountain of Trevi, welling from a hundred 
jets, and rolling over mimic rocks, is silvery to the eye and ear. 
In the narrow little throat of street beyond, a booth, dressed out 
with flaring lamps and boughs of trees, attracts a group of sulky 
Romans round its smoking coppers of hot broth and cauliflowei 
stew ; its trays of fried fish, and its flasks of wine. As you rattle 
round the sharply-twisting corner, a lumbering sound is heard. 
The coachman stops abruptly, and uncovers, as a van comes 
slowly by, preceded by a man who bears a large cross ; by a 
torch-bearer ; and a priest : the latter chanting as he goes. It 
is the Dead Cart, with the bodies of the poor, on their way to 
burial in the Sacred Field outside the walls, where they will be 
thrown into the pit that will be covered with a stone to-night, 
and sealed up for a year. 

But whether, in this ride, you pass by obelisks or columns : 
ancient temples, theatres, houses, porticos, or forums : it is strange 
to see how every fragment, whenever it is possible, has been 
blended into some modern structure, and made to serve some 
modern purpose — a wall, a dwelling-place, a granary, a stable — 
some use for which it never was designed, and associated with 
which it cannot otherwise than lamely assort. It is stranger 
still to see how many ruins of the old mythology : how many 
fragments of obsolete legend and observance : have been incorpo- 
rated into the worship of Christian altars here ; and how, in 
numberless respects, the false faith and the true are fused into a 
monstrous union. 

From one part of the city, looking out beyond the walls, a 
squat and stunted pyramid (the burial-place of Caius Cestius) 
makes an opaque triangle in the moonlight. But, to an English 
traveller, it serves to mark the grave of Shelley too, whose ashes 
lie beneath a little garden near it. Nearer still, almost within 
its shadow, lie the bones of Eeats, " whose name is writ in water," 
that shines brightly in the landscape of a calm Italian night. 

• The Holy Week in Borne is supposed to offer great attractions 

HH 



4^6 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

to all visitors ; but, saving for the sights of Easter Sunday, I 
would counsel those who go to Rome for its own interest to 
avoid it at that time. The ceremonies, in general, are of the 
most tedious and wearisome kind ; the heat and crowd at every 
one of them painfully oppressive ; the noise, hubbub, and confu- 
sion quite distracting. We abandoned the pursuit of these 
shows very early in the proceedings, and betook ourselves to the 
Euins again. But, we plunged into the crowd for a share of the 
best of the sights ; and what we saw I will describe to you. 

At the Sistine Chapel, on the Wednesday, we saw very little, 
for, by the time we reached it (though we were early), the 
besieging crowd had filled it to the door, and overflowed into 
the adjoining hall, where they were struggling, and squeezing, 
and mutually expostulating, and making great rushes every time 
a lady was brought out faint, as if at least fifty people could be 
accommodated in her vacant standing-room. Hanging in the 
doorway of the chapel was a heavy curtain, and this curtain, 
some twenty people nearest to it, in their anxiety to hear the 
chanting of the Miserere, were continually plucking at, in oppo- 
sition to each other, that it might not fall down and stifle the 
sound of the voices. The consequence was, that it occasioned 
the most extraordinary confusion, and seemed to wind itself 
about the unwary like a Serpent. Now, a lady was wrapped up 
in it, and couldn't be unwound. Now, the voice of a stifling 
gentleman was heard inside it, beseeching to be let out. Now, 
two muffled arms, no man could say of which sex, struggled in it 
as in a sack. Now, it was carried by a rush, bodily overhead into 
the chapel, like an awning. Now, it came out the other way, 
and blinded one of the Pope's Swiss Guard who had arrived, that 
moment, to set things to rights. 

Being seated at a little distance, among two or three of the 
Pope's gentlemen, who were very weary and counting the minutes 
— as perhaps his Holiness was too — we had better opportunities 
of observing this eccentric entertainment than of hearing the 
Miserere. Sometimes there was a swell of mournful voices that 



ROME. 467 

sounded very pathetic and sad, and died away into a low strain 
again ; but that was all we heard. 

At another time there was the Exhibition of the Relics in St. 
Peter's, which took place at between six and seven o'clock in the 
evening, and was striking, from the cathedral being dark and 
gloomy, and having a great many people in it. The place into 
which the relics were brought, one by one, by a party of three 
priests, was a high balcony near the chief altar. This was the 
only lighted part of the church. There are always a hundred 
and twelve lamps burning near the altar, and there were two tall 
tapers, besides, near the black statue of St. Peter ; but these 
were nothing in such an immense edifice. The gloom, and the 
general upturning of faces to the balcony, and the prostration of 
true believers on the pavement, as shining objects, like pictures 
or looking-glasses, were brought out and shown, had something 
effective in it, despite the very preposterous manner in which 
they were held up for the general edification, and the great 
elevation at which they were displayed ; which one would think 
rather calculated to diminish the comfort derivable from a full 
conviction of their being genuine. 

On the Thursday we went to see the Pope convey the Sacra- 
ment from the Sistine Chapel, to deposit it in the Capella Paolina, 
another chapel in the Vatican ; — a ceremony emblematical of the 
entombment of the Saviour before His Resurrection. "We waited 
in a great gallery with a great crowd of people (three-fourths of 
them English) for an hour or so, while they were chanting the 
Miserere in the Sistine Chapel again. Both chapels opened out 
of the gallery ; and the general attention was concentrated on the 
occasional opening and shutting of the door of the one for which 
the Pope was ultimately bound. None of these openings dis- 
closed anything more tremendous than a man on a ladder, light- 
ing a great quantity of candles ; but, at each and every opening, 
there was a terrific rush made at this ladder and this man, 
something like (I should think) a charge of the heavy British 
cavalry at Waterloo. The man was never brought down, how- 

h H 2 



468 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

ever, nor the ladder ; for it performed the strangest antics in the 
world among the crowd — where it was carried by the man, when 
the candles were all lighted ; and finally it was stuck up against 
the gallery wall, in a very disorderly manner, just before the 
opening of the other chapel, and the commencement of a new 
chant, announced the approach of his Holiness. At this crisis, 
the soldiers of the guard, who had been poking the crowd into 
all sorts of shapes, formed down the gallery : and the procession 
came up, between the two lines they made. 

There were a few choristers, and then a great many priests, 
walking two and two, and carrying — the good-looking priests, at 
least — their lighted tapers, so as to throw the light with a good 
effect upon their faces : for the room was darkened. Those who 
were not handsome, or who had not long beards, carried their 
tapers anyhow, and abandoned themselves to spiritual contem- 
plation. Meanwhile, the chanting, was very monotonous and 
dreary. The procession passed on, slowly, into the chapel, and 
the drone of voices went on, and came on, with it, until the Pope 
himself appeared, walking under a white satin canopy, and bear- 
ing the covered Sacrament in both hands ; Cardinals and Canons, 
clustered round him, making a brilliant show. The soldiers of 
the guard knelt down as he passed ; all the bystanders bowed ; 
and so he passed on into the chapel : the white satin canopy 
being removed from over him at the door, and a white satin 
parasol hoisted over his poor old head, in place of it. A few 
more couples brought up the rear, and passed into the chapel 
also. Then, the chapel door was shut ; and it was all over ; and 
everybody hurried off headlong, as for life or death, to see some- 
thing else, and say it wasn't worth the trouble. 

I think the most popular and most crowded sight (excepting 
those of Easter Sunday and Monday, which are open to all classes 
of people) was the Pope washing the feet of Thirteen men, repre- 
senting the twelve apostles, and Judas Iscariot. The place in 
which this pious office is performed is one of the chapels of St. 
Peter's, which is gaily decorated for the occasion ; the Thirteen 



ROME. 469 

sitting " all of a row," on a very high bench, and looking parti- 
cularly uncomfortable, with the eyes of Heaven knows how many 
'English, French, Americans, Swiss, Germans, Kussians, Swedes, 
Norwegians, and other foreigners nailed to their faces all the 
time. They are robed in white ; and on their heads they wear 
a stiff white cap, like a large English porter pot without a handle. 
Each carries in his hand a nosegay, of the size of a fine cauli- 
flower ; and two of them, on this occasion, wore spectacles : 
which, remembering the characters they sustained, I thought a 
droll appendage to the costume. There was a great eye to 
character. St. John was represented by a good-looking young 
man ; St. Peter, by a grave-looking old gentleman, with a flowing 
brown beard ; and Judas Iscariot by such an enormous -hypocrite 
(I could not make out, though, whether the expression of his 
face was real or assumed), that if he had acted the part to the 
death, and had gone away and hanged himself, he would have 
left nothing to be desired. 

As the two large boxes appropriated to ladies, at this sight, 
were full to the throat, and getting near was hopeless, we posted 
off, along with a great crowd, to be in time at the Table, where 
the Pope, in person, waits on these Thirteen ; and after a pro- 
digious struggle at the Vatican staircase, and several personal 
conflicts with the Swiss Guard, the whole crowd swept into the 
room. It was a long gallery, hung with drapery of white and 
red, with another great box for ladies (who are obliged to dress 
in black at these ceremonies, and to wear black veils), a royal 
box for the King of Naples and his party ; and the table itself, 
whichy set out like a ball supper, and ornamented with golden 
figures of the real apostles, was arranged on an elevated platform 
on one side of the gallery. The counterfeit apostles' knives and 
forks were laid out on 'that -side of the table which was nearest 
to the wall, so that -they might be stared at again" without let or 
hindrance. --• «->•• 

The body of the room was full of male strangers ; the crowd 
immense ; the heat very great ; and the pressure sometimes 



47° PICTURES PROM ITALY. 

frightful. It was at its height when the stream came pouring in 
from the feet-washing ; and then there were such shrieks and 
outcries, that a party of Piedmontese dragoons went to the rescue 
of the Swiss Guard, and helped them to calm the tumult. 

The ladies were particularly ferocious in their struggles for 
places. One lady of my acquaintance was seized round the 
waist in the ladies' box, by a strong matron, and hoisted out of 
her place ; and there was another lady (in a back row in the 
same box) who improved her position by sticking a large pin 
into the ladies before her. 

The gentlemen about me were remarkably anxious to see what 
was on the table ; and one Englishman seemed to have embarked 
the whole energy of his nature in the determination to discover 
whether there was any mustard. " By Jupiter, there's vinegar ! " 
I heard him say to his friend, after he had stood on tiptoe an 
immense time, and had been crushed and beaten on all sides. 
" And there's oil ! ! I saw them distinctly, in cruets ! Can any 
gentleman, in front there, see mustard on the table ? Sir, will 
you oblige me ? Do you see a Mustard-pot ? " 

The apostles and Judas appearing on the platform, after much 
expectation, were marshalled, in line, in front of the table, with 
Peter at the top ; and a good long stare was taken at them by 
the company, while twelve of them took a long smell at their 
nosegays, and Judas — moving his lips very obtrusively — engaged 
in inward prayer. Then, the Pope, clad in a scarlet robe, and 
wearing on his head a skull-cap of white satin, appeared in the 
midst of a crowd of Cardinals and other dignitaries, and took in 
his hand a little golden ewer, from which he poured a little water 
over one of Peter's hands, while one attendant held a golden 
basin ; a second, a fine cloth ; a third, Peter's nosegay, which 
was taken from him during the operation. This his Holiness 
performed, with considerable expedition, on every man in the 
line (Judas I observed to be particularly overcome by his conde- 
scension) ; and then the whole Thirteen sat down to dinner. 
Grace said by the Pope. Peter in the chair. 



ROME. 47 1 

There was white wine, and red wine : and the dinner looked 
very good. The courses appeared in portions, one for each 
apostle ; and these being presented to the Pope, by Cardinals 
upon their knees, were by him handed to the Thirteen. The 
manner in which Judas grew more white-livered over his victuals, 
and languished, with his head on one side, as if he had no appe- 
tite, defies all description. Peter was a good, sound old man, 
and went in, as the saying is, " to win ;" eating everything that 
was given him (he got the best : being first in the row), and 
saying nothing to anybody. The dishes appeared to be chiefly 
composed of fish and vegetables. The Pope helped the Thirteen 
to wine also ; and, during the whole dinner, somebody read 
something aloud, out of a large book — the Bible, I presume — 
which nobody could hear, and to which nobody paid the least 
attention. The Cardinals, and other attendants, smiled to each 
other, from time to time, as if the thing were a great farce ; and 
if they thought so, there is little doubt they were perfectly right. 
His Holiness did what he had to do, as a sensible man gets through 
a troublesome ceremony, and seemed very glad when it was all over. 

The Pilgrims' Suppers : where lords and ladies waited on the 
Pilgrims, in token of humility, and dried their feet when they 
had been well washed by deputy : were very attractive. But, of 
all the many spectacles of dangerous reliance on outward observ- 
ances, in themselves mere empty forms, none struck me half so 
much as the Scala Santa, or Holy Staircase, which I saw several 
times, but to the greatest advantage, or disadvantage, on Good 
Friday. 

This holy staircase is composed of eight-and-twenty steps, said 
to have belonged to Pontius Pilate's house, and to be the identical 
stairs on which Our Saviour trod, in coming down from the 
judgment-seat. Pilgrims ascend it, only on their knees. It is 
steep ; and, at the summit, is a chapel, reported to be full of 
relics ; into which they peep through some iron bars, and then 
come down again by one of two side-staircases, which are not 
sacred, and may be walked on. 



472 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

On Good Friday there were, on a moderate computation, a 
hundred people slowly shuffling up these stairs, on their knees, 
at one time ; while others, who were going up, or had come down 
— and a few who had done both, and were going up again for 
the second time — stood loitering in the porch below, where an 
old gentleman, in a sort of watch-box, rattled a tin canister, with 
a slit in the top, incessantly, to remind them that he took the 
money. The majority were country-people, male and female. 
There were four or five Jesuit priests, however, and some half- 
dozen well-dressed women. A whole school of boys, twenty at 
least, were about half-way up — evidently enjoying it very much. 
They were all wedged together pretty closely ; but the rest of the 
company gave the boys as wide a berth as possible, in cons_e- 
quence of their betraying some recklessness in the management 
of their boots. 

I never, in my life, saw anything at once so ridiculous, and 
so unpleasant, as this sight — ridiculous in the absurd incidents 
inseparable from it ; and unpleasant in its senseless and unmean- 
ing degradation. There are two steps to begin with, and then 
a rather broad landing. The more rigid climbers went along 
this landing on their knees, as well as up the stairs ; and the 
figures they cut, in their shuffling progress over the level sur- 
face, no description can paint. Then, to see them watch their 
opportunity from the porch, and cut in where there was a place 
next the wall ! And to see one man with an umbrella (brought 
on purpose, for it was a fine day) hoisting himself, unlawfully, 
from stair to stair ! And to observe a demure lady of fifty-five 
or so, looking back, every now and then, to assure herself that 
her legs were properly disposed ! 

There were such odd differences in the speed of different 
people, too. Some got on- as if they were doing a match against 
time ; others stopped to say a prayer on every step. This man 
touched every stair with his forehead, and kissed it ; that man 
scratched his head all the way. The boys got on brilliantly, and 
were up and down again before the old lady had accomplished 



ROME. 473 

her half-dozen stairs. But most of the Penitents came down 
very sprightly and fresh, as having done a real good substantia] 
deed, which it would take a good deal of sin to counterbalance ; 
and the old gentleman in the watch-box was down upon theni 
with his canister while they were in this humour, I promise you. 

As if such a progress were not in its nature inevitably droll 
enough, there lay, on the top of the stairs, a wooden figure on a 
crucifix, resting on a sort of great iron saucer ; so rickety and 
unsteady, that whenever an enthusiastic person kissed the figure 
with more than usual devotion, or threw a coin into the saucer 
with more than common readiness (for it served in this respect 
as a second or supplementary canister), it gave a great leap and 
rattle, and nearly shook the attendant lamp out : horribly 
frightening the people further down, and throwing the guilty 
party into unspeakable embarrassment. 

On Easter Sunday, as well as on the preceding Thursday, the 
Pope bestows his benediction on the people from the balcony in 
front of St. Peter's. This Easter Sunday was a day so bright 
and blue : so cloudless, balmy, wonderfully bright : that all the 
previous bad weather vanished from the recollection in a moment. 
I had seen the Thursday's benediction dropping damply on some 
hundreds of umbrellas, but there was not a sparkle then in all 
the hundred fountains of Rome — such fountains as they are ! — ■ 
and, on this Sunday morning, they were running diamonds. 
The miles of miserable streets through which we drove (com- 
pelled to a certain course by the Pope's dragoons : the Roman 
police on such occasions) were so full of colour, that nothing in 
them was capable of wearing a faded aspect. The common 
people came out in their gayest dresses ; the richer people in 
their smartest vehicles ; Cardinals rattled to the church of the 
Poor Fishermen in their state carriages ; shabby magnificence 
flaunted its threadbare liveries and tarnished cocked-hats in the 
sun ; and every coach in Rome was put in requisition for the 
Great Piazza of St. Peter's. 

One hundred and fifty thousand people were there at least ! 



474 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

Yet there was ample room. How many carriages were there I 
don't know ; yet there was room for them too, and to spare. 
The great steps of the church were densely crowded. There 
were many of the Contadini, from Albano (who delight in red), 
in that part of the square, and the mingling of bright colours 
in the crowd was beautiful. Below the steps the troops were 
ranged. In the magnificent proportions of the place, they looked 
like a bed of flowers. Sulky Komans, lively peasants from the 
neighbouring country, groups of pilgrims from distant parts of 
Italy, sight-seeing foreigners of all nations, made a murmur in 
the clear air, like so many insects ; and high above them all, plash- 
ing and bubbling, and making rainbow colours in the light, the 
two delicious fountains welled and tumbled bountifully. 

A kind of bright carpet was hung over the front of the 
balcony ; and the sides of the great window were bedecked with 
crimson drapery. An awning was stretched, too, over the top, 
to screen the old man from the hot rays of the sun. As noon 
approached, all eyes were turned up to this window- In due 
time the chair was seen approaching to the front, with the 
gigantic fans of peacock's feathers close behind. The doll within 
it (for the balcony is very high) then rose up, and stretched 
out its tiny arms, while all the male spectators in the square 
uncovered, and some, but not by any means the greater part, 
kneeled down. The guns upon the ramparts of the Castle of 
St. Angelo proclaimed, next moment, that the benediction was 
given ; drums beat ; trumpets sounded ; arms clashed ; and the 
great mass below, suddenly breaking into smaller heaps, and 
scattering here and there in rills, was stirred like party-coloured 
sand. 

What a bright noon it was as we rode away ! The Tiber 
was no longer yellow, but blue. There was a blush on the old 
bridges, that made them fresh and hale again. The Pantheon, 
with its majestic front, all seamed and furrowed like an old face, 
had summer light upon its battered walls. Every squalid and 
desolate hut in the Eternal City (bear witness, every grim old 



ROME. 475 

palace, to the filth and misery of the plebeian neighbour that 
elbows it, as certain as Time has laid its grip on its patrician 
head !) was fresh and new with some ray of the sun. The very 
prison in the crowded street, a whirl of cairiages and people, 
had some stray sense of the day, dropping through its chinks 
and crevices : and dismal prisoners, who could not wind their 
faces round the barricading of the blocked-up windows, stretched 
out their hands, and clinging to the rusty bars, turned theon 
towards the overflowing street : as if it were a cheerful fire, and 
could be shared in that way. 

But, when the night came on, without a cloud to dim the full 
moon, what a sight it was to see the Great Square full once 
more, and the whole church, from the cross to the ground, 
lighted with innumerable lanterns, tracing out the architecture, 
and winking and shining all round the colonnade of the Piazza ! 
And what a sense of exultation, joy, delight, it was, when the 
great bell struck half-past seven — on the instant — to behold one 
bright red mass of fire soar gallantly from the top of the cupola 
to the extremest summit of the cross, and, the moment it leaped 
into its place, become the signal of a bursting out of countless 
lights, as great, and red, and blazing as itself, from every part 
of the gigantic church ; so that every cornice, capital, and 
smallest ornament of stone expressed itself in fire : and the 
black, solid groundwork of the enormous dome seemed to grow 
transparent as an egg-shell ! 

A train of gunpowder, an electric chain — nothing could be 
fired more suddenly and swiftly than this second illumination ; 
and when we had got away, and gone upon a distant height, 
and looked towards it two hours afterwards, there it still stood, 
shining and glittering in the calm night like a jewel ! Not a 
line of its proportions wanting ; not an angle blunted ; not an 
atom of its radiance lost. 

The next night — Easter Monday — there was a great display 
of fireworks from the Castle of St. Angelo. We hired a room 
in an opposite house, and made our way to our places in good 



47 & PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

time, through a dense mob of people choking up the square in 
front, and all the avenues leading to it ; and so loading the 
bridge by which the castle is approached, that it seemed ready 
to sink into the rapid Tiber below. There are statues on this 
bridge (execrable works), and, among them, great vessels full of 
burning tow were placed : glaring strangely on the faces of the 
crowd, and not less strangely on the stone counterfeits above them. 

The show began with a tremendous discharge of cannon ; and 
then, for twenty minutes, or half an hour, the whole castle was 
one incessant sheet of fire, and labyrinth of blazing wheels of 
every colour, size, and speed : while rockets streamed into the 
sky, not by ones or twos, or scores, but hundreds at a time. 
The concluding burst — the Girandola — was like the blowing up 
into the air of the whole massive castle, without smoke or dust. 

In half an hour afterwards the immense concourse had dis- 
persed ; the moon was looking calmly down upon her wrinkled 
image in the river ; and half-a-dozen men and boys, with bits 
of lighted candle in their hands : moving here and there, in 
search of anything worth having, that might have been dropped 
in the press : had the whole scene to themselves. 

By way of contrast, we rode out into old ruined Home, after 
all this firing and booming, to take our leave of the Coliseum. 
I had seen it by moonlight before (I never could get through a 
day without going back to it), but its tremendous solitude that 
night is past all telling. The ghostly pillars in the Forum ; the 
Triumphal Arches of Old Emperors ; those enormous masses of 
ruin which were once their palaces ; the grass-grown mounds 
that mark the graves of ruined temples ; the stones of the Via 
Sacra, smooth with the tread of feet in ancient Eome ; even 
these were dimmed, in their transcendent melancholy, by the 
dark ghost of its bloody holidays, erect and grim ; haunting the 
old scene ; despoiled by pillaging Popes and fighting Princes, 
but not laid; wringing wild hands of weed, and grass, and 
bramble ; and lamenting to the night in every gap and broken 
arch — the shadow of its awful self, immovable ! 



s / 



ROME. 477 

As we lay down on the grass of the Campagna next day, on 
our way to Florence, hearing the larks sing, we saw that a little 
wooden cross had been erected on the spot where the poor Pil- 
grim Countess was murdered. So, we piled some loose stones 
about it, as the beginning of a mound to her memory, and 
wondered if we should ever rest there again, and look back at 
Rome. 



A RAPID DIORAMA. 

Ty E are bound for Naples ! And we cross the threshold of 
the Eternal City at yonder gate, the Gate of San Giovanni 
Laterano, where the two last objects that attract the notice of a 
departing visitor, and the two first objects that attract the notice 
of an arriving one, are a proud church and a decaying ruin — 
good emblems of Some. 

Our way lies over the Campagna, which looks more solemn 
on a bright blue day like this, than beneath a darker sky ; the 
great extent of ruin being plainer to the eye : and the sunshine 
through the arches of the broken aqueducts, showing other 
broken arches shining through them in the melancholy distance. 
When we have traversed it, and look back from Albano, its dark, 
undulating surface lies below us like a stagnant lake, or like a 
broad, dull Lethe flowing round the walls of Rome, and sepa- 
rating it from all the world! How often have the Legions, in 
triumphant march, gone glittering across that purple waste, so 
silent and unpeopled now ! How often has the train of captives 
looked, with sinking hearts, upon the distant city, and beheld 
its population pouring out to hail the return of their conqueror ! 
What riot, sensuality, and murder have run mad in the vast 
palaces now heaps of brick and shattered marble ! What glare 
of fires, and roar of popular tumult, and wail of pestilence and 
famine, have come sweeping over the wild plain where nothing is 
now heard but the wind, and where the solitary lizards gambol 
unmolested in the sun ! 

The train of wine-carts going into Rome, each driven by a 
shaggy peasant reclining beneath a little gipsy-fashioned canopy 



FONDI. 479 

of sheep-skin, is ended now, and we go toiling up into a higher 
country where there are trees. The next day brings us on the 
Pontine Marshes, wearily flat and lonesome, and overgrown with 
brushwood, and swamped with water, but with a fine road made 
across them, shaded by a long, long avenue. Here and there 
we pass a solitary guard-house ; here and there a hovel, deserted, 
and walled up. Some herdsmen loiter on the banks of the 
stream beside the road, and sometimes a flat-bottomed boat, 
towed by a man, comes rippling idly along it. A horseman 
passes occasionally, carrying a long gun crosswise on the saddle 
before him, and attended by fierce dogs ; but there is nothing 
else astir, save the wind and the shadows, until we come in sight 
of Terracina. 

How blue and bright the sea, rolling below the windows of 
the inn so famous in robber stories ! How picturesque the great 
crags and points of rock overhanging to-morrow's narrow road, 
where galley-slaves are working in the quarries above, and the 
sentinels who guard them lounge on the seashore ! All night 
there is the murmur of the sea beneath the stars ; and, in the 
morning, just at daybreak, the prospect suddenly becoming 
expanded, as if by a miracle, reveals — in the far distance, across 
the sea there ! — Naples with its islands, and Vesuvius spouting 
fire ! Within a quarter of an hour, the whole is gone as if it 
were a vision in the clouds, and there is nothing but the sea 
and sky. 

The Neapolitan frontier crossed, after two hours' travelling ; 
and the hungriest of soldiers and custom-house officers with 
difficulty appeased ; we enter, by a gateless portal, into the first 
Neapolitan town — Fondi. Take note of Fondi, in the name, of 
all that, is wretched and beggarly. 

A filthy channel of mud and refuse meanders down the centre 
of the miserable street, fed by obscene rivulets that trickle from 
the abject houses. There is not a door, a window, or a shutter ; 
not a roof, a wall, a post, or a pillar, in all Fondi, but is decayed, 
"and crazy, and rotting away. The wretched history of the town, 



48a PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

with all its sieges and pillages by Barbarossa and the rest, might 
have been acted last year. How the gaunt dogs that sneak 
about the miserable street come to be alive, and undevoured by 
the people, is one of the enigmas of the world. 

A hollow-cheeked and scowling people they are ! All beggars ; 
but that's nothing. Look at them as they gather round. Some 
are too indolent to come down-stairs, or are too wisely mistrust- 
ful of the stairs, perhaps, to venture : so stretch out their lean 
hands from upper windows, and howl ; others come nocking 
about us, fighting and jostling one another, and demanding, 
incessantly, charity for the love of God, charity for the love of 
the Blessed Virgin, charity for the love of all the Saints. A 
group of miserable children, almost naked, screaming forth the 
same petition, discover that they can see themselves reflected in 
the varnish of the carriage, and begin to dance and make 
grimaces, that they may have the pleasure of seeing their antics 
repeated in this mirror. A crippled idiot, in the act of striking 
one of them who drowns his clamorous demand for charity, 
observes his angry counterpart in the panel, stops short, and, 
thrusting out his tongue, begins to wag his head and chatter. 
The shrill cry raised at this awakens half-a-dozen wild creatures 
wrapped in frouzy brown cloaks, who are lying on the church 
steps with pots and pans for sale. These, scrambling up, 
approach, and beg defiantly. "lam hungry. Give me some- 
thing. Listen to me, Signore. J am hungry ! " Then, a ghastly 
old woman, fearful of being too late, comes hobbling down the 
street, stretching out one hand, and scratching herself all the 
way with the other, and screaming, long before she can be heard, 
" Charity, charity ! I'll go and pray for you directly, beautiful 
lady, if you'll give me charity ! " Lastly, the members of a 
brotherhood for burying the dead : hideously masked, and attired 
in shabby black robes, white at the skirts, with the splashes of 
many muddy winters : escorted by a dirty priest, and a con- 
genial cross-bearer : come hurrying past. Surrounded by this 
motley concourse, we move out of Fondi : bad bright eyes glaring 



NAPLES. 481 

at us, out of the darkness of every crazy tenement, like glisten- 
ing fragments of its filth and putrefaction. 

A noble mountain pass, with the ruins of a fort on a strong 
eminence, traditionally called the Fort of Fra Diavolo ; the old 
town of Itri, like a device in pastry, built up, almost perpen- 
dicularly, on a hill, and approached by long steep flights of steps ; 
beautiful Mola di Gaeta, whose wines, like those of Albano, 
have degenerated since the days of Horace, or his taste for wine 
was bad: which is not likely of one who enjoyed it so much, and 
extolled it so well ; another night upon the road at St. Agata ; a 
rest next day at Capua, which is picturesque, but hardly so seduc- 
tive to a traveller now as the soldiers of Praetorian Rome were wont 
to find the ancient city of that name ; a flat road among vines 
festooned and looped from tree to tree ; and Mount Vesuvius 
close at hand at last ! — its cone and summit whitened with snow; 
and its smoke hanging over it, in the heavy atmosphere of the 
day, like a dense cloud. So we go, rattling downhill, into 
Naples. 

A funeral is coming up the street, towards us. The body, on 
an open bier, borne on a kind of palanquin, covered with a gay 
cloth of crimson and gold. The mourners in white gowns and 
masks. If there be death abroad, life is well represented too, for 
all Naples would seem to be out of doors, and tearing to and fro 
in carriages. Some of these, the common Vetturino vehicles, 
are drawn by three horses abreast, decked with smart trappings 
and great abundance of brazen ornament, and always going very 
fast. Not that their loads are light ; for the smallest of them 
has at least six people inside, four in front, four or five more 
hanging on behind, and two or three more in a net or bag below 
the axletree, where they lie half suffocated with mud and dust. 
Exhibitors of Punch, buffo singers with guitars, reciters of poetry, 
reciters of stories, a row of cheap exhibitions with clowns and 
showmen, drums and trumpets, painted cloths representing the 
wonders within, and admiring crowds assembled without, assist 
the whirl and bustle. Ragged lazzaroni lie asleep in door- 

Jl 



482 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

ways, archways, and kennels ; the gentry, gaily dressed, are 
dashing up and down in carriages on the Chiaja, or walking in 
the Public Gardens ; and quiet letter-writers, perched behind 
their little desks and inkstands under the Portico of the Great 
Theatre of San Carlo, in the public street, are Avaiting for 
clients. 

Here is a galley-slave in chains, who wants a letter written to 
a friend. He approaches a clerkly-looking man, sitting under 
the corner arch, and makes his bargain. He has obtained per- 
mission of the sentinel who guards him : who stands near, lean- 
ing against the wall and cracking nuts. The galley-slave dictates 
in the ear of the letter-writer what he desires to say ; and, as he 
can't read writing, looks intently in his face, to read there 
whether he sets down faithfully what he is told. After . a time 
the galley-slave becomes discursive — incoherent. The secretary 
pauses and rubs his chin. The galley-slave is voluble and 
energetic. The secretary, at length, catches the idea, and, with 
the air of a man who knows how to word it, sets it down ; 
stopping, now and then, to glance back at his text admiringly. 
The galley-slave is silent. The soldier stoically cracks his nuts. 
Is there anything more to say ? inquires the letter-writer. No 
more. Then listen, friend of mine. He reads it through. ,The 
galley-slave is quite enchanted. It is folded, and addressed, and 
given to him, and he pays the fee. The secretary falls back 
indolently in his chair, and takes a book. The galley-slave 
gathers up an empty sack. The sentinel throws away a handful 
of nutshells, shoulders his musket, and away they go together. 

Why do the beggars rap their chins constantly with their 
right hands, when you look at them ? Everything is done in 
pantomime in Naples, and that is the conventional sign for 
hunger. A man who is quarrelling with another, yonder, lays 
the palm of his right hand on the back of his left, and shakes 
the two thumbs — expressive of a donkey's ears— whereat his 
adversary is goaded to desperation. Two people bargaining for 
fish, the buyer empties an imaginary waistcoat pocket when he is 



NAPLES. 483 

told the price, and walks away without a word : having thoroughly 
conveyed to the seller that he considers it too dear. Two people 
in carriages, meeting, one touches his lips twice or thrice, holds 
up the five fingers of his right hand, and gives a horizontal cut 
in the air with the palm. The other nods briskly, and goes his 
way. He has been invited to a friendly dinner at half-past five 
o'clock, and will certainly come. 

All over Italy, a peculiar shake of the right hand from the 
wrist, with the forefinger stretched out, expresses a negative — 
the only negative beggars will ever understand. But, in Naples, 
those five fingers are a copious language. 

All this, and every other kind of outdoor life and stir, and 
macaroni-eating at sunset, and flower-selling all day long, and 
begging and stealing everywhere and at all hours, you see upon 
the bright seashore, where the waves of the bay sparkle merrily. 
But, lovers and hunters of the picturesque, let us not keep too 
studiously out of view the miserable depravity, degradation, and 
wretchedness with which this gay Neapolitan life is inseparably 
associated ! It is not well to find St. Giles's so repulsive, and 
the Porta Capuana so attractive. A pair of naked legs and a 
ragged red scarf do not make all the difference between what is 
interesting and what is coarse and odious. Painting and poet- 
ising for ever, if you will, the beauties of this most beautiful 
and lovely spot of earth, let us, as our duty, try to associate a 
new picturesque with some faint recognition of man's destiny 
and capabilities ; more hopeful, I believe, among the ice and 
snow of the North Pole, than in the sun and bloom of Naples. 

Capri — once made odious by the deified beast Tiberius — 
Ischia, Procida, and the thousand distant beauties of the Bay, 
lie in the blue sea yonder, changing in the mist and sunshine 
twenty times a day : now close at hand, now far off, now 
unseen. The fairest country in the world is spread about us. 
Whether we turn towards the Miseno shore of the splendid 
watery amphitheatre, and go by the Grotto of Posilipo to the 
Grotto del Cane, and away to Baia? : or take the other way, 

11 2 



484 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

towards Vesuvius and Sorrento : it is one succession of delights. 
In the last-named direction, where, over doors and archways, 
there are countless little images of San Gennaro, with his 
Canute's hand stretched out to check the fury of the Burning 
Mountain, we are carried pleasantly, by a railroad on the beau- 
tiful Sea Beach, past the town of Torre del Greco, built upon 
the ashes of the former town, destroyed by an eruption of 
Vesuvius within a hundred years ; and past the flat-roofed 
houses, granaries, and macaroni manufactories ; to Castel-a-Mare, 
with its ruined castle, now inhabited by fishermen, standing in 
the sea upon a heap of rocks. Here the railroad terminates ; 
but, hence we may ride on, by an unbroken succession of 
enchanting bays, and beautiful scenery, sloping from the highest 
summit of St. Angelo, the highest neighbouring mountain, down 
to the water's edge — among vineyards, olive-trees, gardens of 
oranges and lemons, orchards, heaped-up rocks, green gorges in 
the hills — and by the bases of snow-covered heights, and through 
small towns with handsome, dark-haired women at the doors — and 
pass delicious summer villas — to Sorrento, where the Poet Tasso 
drew his inspiration from the beauty surrounding him. Return- 
ing, we may climb the heights above Castel-a-Mare, and, looking 
down among the boughs and leaves, see the crisp water glisten- 
ing in the sun ; and clusters of white ihouses in distant Naples, 
dwindling, in the great extent of prospect, down to dice. The 
coming back to the city, by the beach again, at sunset : with the 
glowing sea on one side, and the darkening mountain, with its 
smoke and flame, upon the other : is a sublime conclusion to 
the glory of the day. 

That church by the Porta Capuana — near the old fisher-market 
in the dirtiest quarter of dirty Naples, where the revolt of 
Masaniello began — is memorable for having been the scene of 
one of his earliest proclamations to the people, and is particu- 
larly remarkable for nothing else, unless it be its waxen and 
bejewelled Saint in a glass case, with two odd hands ; or the 
enormous number of beggars who are constantly rapping their 



NAPLES. 485 

chins there, like a battery of castanets. The cathedral with the 
beautiful door, and the columns of African and Egyptian granite 
that once ornamented the Temple of Apollo, contains the famous 
sacred blood of San Gennaro or Januarius : which is preserved 
in two phials in a silver tabernacle, and miraculously liquefies 
three times a year, to the great admiration of the people. At 
the same moment, the stone (distant some miles) where the 
Saint suffered martyrdom becomes faintly red. It is said that 
the officiating priests turn faintly red also, sometimes, when 
these miracles occur. 

The old, old men who live in hovels at the entrance of these 
ancient catacombs, and who, in their age and infirmity, seem 
waiting here to be buried themselves, are members of a curious 
body, called the Koyal Hospital, who are the official attendants 
at funerals. Two of these old spectres totter away, with lighted 
tapers, to show the caverns of death — as unconcerned as if they 
were immortal. They were used as burying-places for three 
hundred years ; and in one part is a large pit full of skulls and 
bones, said to be the sad remains of a great mortality occasioned 
by a plague. In the rest there is nothing but dust. They 
consist, chiefly, of great wide corridors and labyrinths, hewn 
out of the rock. At the end of some of these long passages 
are unexpected glimpses of the daylight, shining down from 
above. It looks as ghastly and as strange : among the torches, 
and the dust, and the dark vaults : as if it, too, were dead and 
buried. 

The present burial-place lies out yonder, on a hill between the 
city and Vesuvius. The old Campo Santo, with its three hundred 
and sixty-five pits, is only used for those who die in hospitals 
and prisons, and are unclaimed by their friends. The graceful 
new cemetery, at no great distance from it, though yet unfinished, 
has already many graves among its shrubs and flowers, and airy 
colonnades. It might be reasonably objected elsewhere, that 
some of the tombs are meretricious and too fanciful ; but the 
general brightness seems to justify it here; and Mount Vesuvius, 



486 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

separated from them by a lovely slope of ground, exalts and 
saddens the scene. 

If it be solemn to behold from this new City of the Dead, 
with its dark smoke hanging in the clear sky, how much more 
awful and impressive is it, viewed from the ghostly ruins of 
Herculaneum and Pompeii ! 

Stand at the bottom of the great market-place of Pompeii, 
and look up the silent streets, through the ruined temples of 
Jupiter and Isis, over the broken houses with their inmost sanc- 
tuaries open to the day, away to Mount Vesuvius, bright and 
snowy in the peaceful distance ; and lose all count of time, and 
heed of other things, in the strange and melancholy sensation of 
seeing the Destroyed and the Destroyer making this quiet pic- 
ture in the sun. Then, ramble on, and see, at every turn, the 
little familiar tokens of human habitation and every-day pursuits ; 
the chafing of the bucket rope in the stone rim of the exhausted 
well; the track of carriage wheels in the pavement of the street ; 
the marks of drinking vessels on the stone counter of the wine- 
shop ; the amphoraa in private cellars, stored away so many 
hundred years ago, and undisturbed to this hour — all rendering 
the solitude and deadly lonesomeness of the place ten thousand 
times more solemn than if the volcano, in its fury, had swept 
the city from the earth, and sunk it in the bottom of the sea. 

After it was shaken by the earthquake which preceded the 
eruption, workmen were employed in shaping out, in stone, new 
ornaments for temples and other buildings .that had suffered. 
Here lies their work, outside the city gate, as if they would 
return to-morrow. 

In the cellar of Diomede's house, where certain skeletons were 
found huddled together, close to the door, the impression of their 
bodies on the ashes, hardened with the ashes, and became stamped 
and fixed there, after they had shrunk, inside, to scanty bones. 
So, in the theatre of Herculaneum, a comic mask, floating on the 
stream when it was hot and liquid, stamped its mimic features in 
it as it hardened into stone; and now, it turns upon the stranger 



POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM. 4S7 

the fantastic look it turned upon the audiences in that same 
theatre two thousand years ago. 

Next to the wonder of going up and down the streets, and in 
and out of the houses, and traversing the secret chambers of the 
temples of a religion that has vanished from the earth, and find- 
ing so many fresh traces of remote antiquity : as if the course of 
Time had been stopped after this desolation, and there had been 
no nights and days, months, years, and centuries since : nothing 
is more impressive and terrible than the many evidences of the 
searching nature of the ashes, as bespeaking their irresistible 
power, and the impossibility of escaping them. In the wine- 
cellars, they forced their way into the earthen vessels : displacing 
the wine, and choking them, to the brim, with dust. In the 
tombs, they forced the ashes of the dead from the funeral urns, 
and rained new ruin even into them. The mouths, and eyes, 
and skulls of all the skeletons were stuffed with this terrible 
hail. In Herculaneum, where the flood was of a different and 
a heavier kind, it rolled in like a sea. Imagine a deluge of 
water turned to marble, at its height — and that is what is called 
"the lava" here. 

Some workmen were digging the gloomy well on the brink of 
which we now stand, looking down, when they came" on some of 
the stone benches of the theatre — those steps (for such they 
seem) at the bottom of the excavation — and found the buried 
city of Herculaneum. Presently going down, with lighted 
torches, we are perplexed by great walls of monstrous thickness, 
rising up between the benches, shutting out the stage, obtruding 
their shapeless forms in absurd places, confusing the whole plan, 
and making it a disordered dream. We cannot, at first, believe, 
or picture to ourselves, that This came rolling in, and drowned 
the city ; and that all that is not here has been cut away, by 
the axe, like solid stone. But this perceived and understood, 
the horror and oppression of its presence are indescribable. 

Many of the paintings on the walls in the roofless chambers 
-of both cities, or carefully removed to the museum at Naples, 



488 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

are as fresh and plain as if they had been executed yesterday. 
Here are subjects of still life, as provisions, dead game, bottles, 
glasses, and the like ; familiar classical stories, or mythological 
fables, always forcibly and plainly told ; conceits of Cupids, 
quarrelling, sporting, working at trades ; theatrical rehearsals ; 
poets reading their productions to their friends ; inscriptions 
chalked upon the walls ; political squibs, advertisements, rough 
drawings by school-boys ; everything to people and restore the 
ancient cities in the fancy of their wondering visitor. Furni- 
ture, too, you see, of every kind — lamps, tables, couches ; vessels 
for eating, drinking, and cooking ; workmen's tools, surgical 
instruments, tickets for the theatre, pieces of money, personal 
ornaments, bunches of keys found clenched in the grasp of skele- 
tons, helmets of guards and warriors ; little household bells, yet 
musical with their old domestic tones. 

The least among these objects lends its aid to swell the interest 
of Vesuvius, and invest it with a perfect fascination. The look- 
ing, from either ruined city, into the neighbouring grounds 
overgrown with beautiful vines and luxuriant trees ; and remem- 
bering that house upon house, temple on temple, building after 
building, and street after street, are still lying underneath the 
roots of all the quiet cultivation, waiting to be turned up to the 
light of day ; is something so wonderful, so full of mystery, so 
captivating to the imagination, that one would think it would 
be paramount, and yield to nothing else. To nothing but 
Vesuvius ; but the mountain is the genius of the scene. From 
every indication of the ruin it has worked, we look, again, with 
an absorbing interest to where its smoke is rising up into the 
sky. It is beyond us, as we thread the ruined streets : above 
us, as we stand upon the ruined walls ; we follow it through 
every vista of broken columns, as we wander through the empty 
courtyards of the houses ; and through the garlandings and inter- 
lacings of every wanton vine. Turning away to Paestum yonder, 
to see the awful structures built, the least aged of them hundreds 
of years before the birth of Christ, and standing yet, erect in 



VESUVIUS. 489 

lonely majesty, upon the wild malaria-blighted plain — we watch 
Vesuvius as it disappears from the prospect, and watch for it 
again, on our return, with the same thrill of interest : as the 
doom and destiny of all this beautiful country, biding its 
terrible time. 

It is very warm in the sun, on this early spring day, when we 
return from Psestum, but very cold in the shade : insomuch that 
although we may lunch pleasantly, at noon, in the open air, by 
the gate of Pompeii, the neighbouring rivulet supplies thick ice 
for our wine. But, the sun is shining brightly ; there is not a 
cloud or speck of vapour in the whole blue sky looking down 
upon the Bay of Naples ; and the moon will be at the full to- 
night. No matter that the snow and ice lie thick upon the 
summit of Vesuvius, or that we have been on foot all day at 
Pompeii, or that croakers maintain that strangers should not be 
on the mountain by night, in such an unusual season. Let us 
take advantage of the fine weather ; make the best of our way to 
Kesina, the little village at the foot of the mountain ; prepare 
ourselves, as well as we can on so short a notice, at the guide's 
house ; ascend at once, and have sunset half-way up, moonlight 
at the top, and midnight to come down in ! 

At four o'clock in the afternoon there is a terrible uproar in 
the little stable-yard of Signore Salvatore, the recognised head 
guide, with the gold band round his cap ; and thirty under- 
guides, who are all scuffling and screaming at once, are prepar- 
ing half-a-dozen saddled ponies, three litters, and some stout 
staves for the journey. Every one of the thirty quarrels with 
the other twenty-nine, and frightens the six ponies ; and as 
much of the village as can possibly squeeze itself into the little 
stable-yard participates in the tumult, and gets trodden on by 
the cattle. 

After much violent skirmishing, and more noise than would 
suffice for the storming of Naples, the procession starts. The 
head guide, who is liberally paid for all the attendants, rides a 
little in advance of the party ; the other thirty guides proceed 



4Q0 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

on foot. Eight go forward with the litters that are to be used 
by-and-hy ; and the remaining two-and-twenty beg. 

"We ascend, gradually, by stony lanes like rough broad flights 
of stairs, for some time. At length we leave these, and the vine- 
yards on either side of them, and emerge upon a bleak, bare region, 
where the lava lies confusedly in enormous rusty masses : as if 
the earth had been ploughed up by burning thunderbolts. And 
now we halt to see the sun set. The change that falls upon the 
dreary region, and on the whole mountain, as its; red light fades, 
and the night comes on — and the unutterable solemnity and 
dreariness that reign around, who that has witnessed it can ever 
forget ? 

It is dark when, after winding for some time over the broken 
ground, we arrive at the foot of the cone : which is extremely 
steep, and seems to rise, almost perpendicularly, from the spot 
where we dismount. The only light is reflected from the snow, 
deep, hard, and white, with which the cone is covered. It is now 
intensely cold, and the air is piercing. The thirty-one have 
brought no torches, knowing that the moon will rise before we 
reach the top. Two of the litters are devoted to the two ladies ; 
the third, to a rather heavy gentleman from Naples, whose hospi- 
tality and good-nature have attached him to the expedition, and 
determined him to assist in doing the honours of the mountain. 
The rather heavy gentleman is carried by fifteen men ; each of 
the ladies by half-a-dozen. We who walk make the best use of 
our staves ; and so the whole party begin to labour upward over 
the snow, — as if they were toiling to the summit of an ante- 
diluvian twelfth-cake. 

We are a long time toiling up ; and the head guide looks 
oddly about him when one of the company — not an Italian, 
though an habitue' of the mountain for many years i whom we 
will call, for our present purpose, Mr. Pickle of Portici — suggests 
that, as it is freezing hard, and the usual footing of ashes is 
covered by the snow and ice, it will surely be difficult to 
descend. But the sight of the litters above, tilting up and 



Vesuvius. 491 

down, and jerking from this side to that, as the bearers con- 
tinually slip and stumble, diverts our attention: more especially 
as the whole length of the rather heavy gentleman is, at that 
moment, presented to us alarmingly foreshortened, with his head 
downwards. 

The rising of the moon, soon afterwards, revives the flagging 
spirits of the bearers. Stimulating each other with their usual 
watchword, " Courage, friend ! It is to eat macaroni ! " they 
press on, gallantly, for -the summit. 

From tinging the top of the snow above us with a band of 
light, and pouring it in a stream through the valley below, while 
we have been ascending in the dark, the moon soon lights the 
whole white mountain-side, and the broad sea down below, and 
tiny Naples in the distance, and every village in the country 
round. The whole prospect is in this lovely state, when we 
come upon the platform on the mountain-top — the region of 
Fire — an exhausted crater formed of great masses of gigantic 
cinders, like blocks of stone from some tremendous water-fall, 
burnt up ; from every chink and crevice of which hot, sulphurous 
smoke is pouring out : while, from another conical-shaped hill, 
the present crater, rising abruptly from this platform at the end, 
great sheets of fire are streaming forth : reddening the night 
with flame, blackening it with smoke, and spotting it with red- 
hot stones and cinders, that fly up into the air like feathers, and 
fall down like lead. What words can paint the gloom and 
grandeur of this scene ? 

The broken ground ; the smoke ; the sense of suffocation from 
the sulphur ; the fear of falling down through the crevices in the 
yawning ground ; the stopping, every now and then, for some- 
body who is missing in the dark (for the dense smoke now 
obscures the moon) ; the intolerable noise of the thirty ; and the 
hoarse roaring of the mountain ; make it a scene of such confu- 
sion, at the same time, that we reel again. But, dragging the 
ladies through it, and across another exhausted crater to the foot 
of the present Volcano, we approach close to it on the windy side, 



49 2 PICTURES FROM ITALY. 

and then sit down among the hot ashes at its foot, and look up 
in silence ; faintly estimating the action that is going on within, 
from its being full a hundred feet higher, at this minute, than it 
was six weeks ago. 

There is something in the fire and roar that generates an irre- 
sistible desire to get nearer to it. We cannot rest long without 
starting off, two of us, on our hands and knees, accompanied by 
the head guide, to climb to the brim of the flaming crater, and 
try to look in. Meanwhile, the thirty yell, as with one voice, 
that it is a dangerous proceeding, and call to us to come back ; 
frightening the rest of the party out of their wits. 

What with their noise, and what with the trembling of the 
thin crust of ground, that seems about to open underneath our 
feet, and plunge us in the burning gulf below (which is the real 
danger, if there be any) ; and what with the flashing of the fire 
in our faces, and the shower of red-hot ashes that is raining 
down, and the choking smoke and sulphur ; we may well feel 
giddy and irrational, like drunken men. But, we contrive to 
climb up to the brim, and look down, for a moment, into the 
Hell of boiling fire below. Then, we all three come rolling 
down ; blackened, and singed, and scorched, and hot, and giddy : 
and each with his dress alight in half-a-dozen places. 

You have read, a thousand times, that the usual way of 
descending is by sliding down the ashes : which, forming a 
gradually increasing ledge below the feet, prevent too rapid a 
descent. But, when we have crossed the two exhausted craters 
on our way back, and are come to this precipitous place, there is 
(as Mr. Pickle has foretold) no vestige of ashes to be seen ; the 
whole being a smooth sheet of ice. 

In this dilemma, ten or a dozen of the guides cautiously join 
hands, and make a chain of men ; of whom the foremost beat, as 
well as they can, a rough track with their sticks, down which we 
prepare to follow. The way being fearfully steep, and none of 
the party : even of the thirty : being able to keep their feet for 
six paces together, the ladies are taken out of their litters, and 



VESUVIUS. 493 

placed each between two careful persons ; while others of the 
thirty hold by their skirts, to prevent their falling forward — a 
necessary precaution, tending to the immediate and hopeless 
dilapidation of their apparel. The rather heavy gentleman is 
adjured to leave his litter too, and be escorted in a similar manner; 
but he resolves to be brought down as he was brought up, on the 
principle that his fifteen bearers are not likely to tumble all at 
once, and that he is safer so than trusting to his own legs. 

In this order, we begin the descent : sometimes on foot, some- 
times shuffling on the ice : always proceeding much more quietly 
and slowly than on our upward way : and constantly alarmed by 
the falling among us of somebody from behind, who endangers 
the footing of the whole party, and clings pertinaciously to any- 
body's ankles. It is impossible for the litter to be in advance, 
too, as the track has to be made ; and its appearance behind us, 
overhead— with some one or other of the bearers always down, 
and the rather heavy gentleman with his legs always in the air 
— is very threatening and frightful. We have gone on thus a 
very little way, painfully and anxiously, but quite merrily, and 
regarding it as a great success — and have all fallen several times, 
and have all been stopped, somehow or other, as we were sliding 
away — when Mr. Pickle, of Portici, in the act of remarking on 
these uncommon circumstances as quite beyond his experience, 
stumbles, falls, disengages himself, with quick presence of mind, 
from those about him, plunges away head foremost, and rolls, 
over and over, down the whole surface of the cone i 

Sickening as it is to look, and be so powerless to help him, 1 
see him there, in the moonlight — I have had such a dream often 
•—skimming over the white ice like a cannon-ball. Almost at 
the same moment, there is a cry from behind ; and a man who 
has carried a light basket of spare cloaks on his head, comes 
rolling past at the same fr